Frequently Asked Questions

Are a teacher’s work submissions – unit, student work, video, and commentaries confidential?

Yes. The identity of all beginning teachers and their work products will be handled confidentially. There are several documents in the Beginning Teachers > Resource section of the IA-TPA website that outlines how the IA-TPA Design Team and Iowa DOE adhere to all appropriate ethical professional standards for confidentiality and use of teacher work products only for the pilot study and field trial in developing the IA-TPA assessment system. Included in these materials are guidelines for beginning teacher on how to keep their work products (including video material) secure and confidential.

Can district administrators and college/university faculty serve as scorers?

Yes. We encourage teacher leaders, mentors, coaches, district administrators, and college/university faculty to serve as raters for the IA-TPA assessment. For mentors, this experience will help in benchmarking performance expectations for the four tasks, which will inform the work they do with their preservice teachers.

Can mentors sign up to be Raters for the IA-TPA assessment?

Yes. We encourage mentors to serve as raters for the IA-TPA assessment. All scoring will be blind and the system will eliminate the possibility of mentors rating the beginning teachers with whom they support. For mentors, this experience will help in benchmarking performance expectations for the four tasks, which will inform their dialogue with their beginning teachers.

Can my mentor help me complete the IA-TPA tasks?

Mentors are encouraged to review the handbook (instrument and rubrics) to help the beginning teacher understand the requirements of the assessment and how it will be rated, ask open-ended questions to deepen teacher understanding of the specific areas of the assessment without leading the teacher in a specific direction, and identify coaching opportunities for the teacher around specific areas of the assessment (e.g., differentiation, providing feedback, assessing student learning). However, mentors should NOT develop or edit any work products, or provide feedback on how to change a work product BEFORE the work is submitted. The submission of artifacts for this process should be a reflection of the work the beginning teacher is capable of doing at a given point in time. Once the work has been submitted, mentors are encouraged to use the work products to inform their converstions with the beginning teacher about how to improve practice.

Can the submitted work for the IA-TPA tasks be used in creating a teacher’s portfolio of work for securing their standard license?

Yes. As a beginning teacher, you are asked to gather evidence in your first two years of teaching to obtain your standard license. The IA-TPA has been developed to provide a structured process for gathering these artifacts, reflecting upon and receiving feedback on your instruction from your mentor, in preparation for meeting the Iowa Teaching Standards. As a result, you can use this body of evidence to submit as proof of meeting these standards for your standard license.

Can these tasks be done collaboratively with a colleague?

No. The IA-TPA assessment is designed to develop an individual teacher as they work with their mentor to implement a full instructional cycle. While we know that some teachers will be working in groups and teams to develop the unit of instruction, each beginning teacher is responsible for implementing their unit and submitting his or her own work (artifacts, commentaries and other documents) separate and distinct from his or her colleagues.

Do the tasks have to be completed in any specific order?

Yes. The IA-TPA tasks were designed to support a full instruction cycle, from building a unit of instruction to assessing students as they learn throughout the unit, and then using that information to set goals and develop interventions to address student needs. All the work products from the tasks are submitted as a single portfolio of work.

Does the IA-TPA replace the standard license for beginning teachers?

No. The IA-TPA does not replace the standard license, but the work products can be used as the body of evidence to submit as proof of meeting these standards for your standard license.

How do beginning teachers submit more than one document for each task?

Each task clearly defines the number of work products a teacher must submit. If a task requires more than one document or work product, then there will be a field to upload each work product.

How is the IA-TPA different from edTPA?

The most important difference between IA-TPA and edTPA is that the edTPA is designed for teacher candidates who are going for initial licensure.  As a result, the edTPA requires more work from teacher candidates to demonstrate their preparation for teaching competencies around Planning, Instruction, and Assessment. IA-TPA, in contrast, is much more sensitive to the time constraints of full time teachers and has dialed back a lot of the kinds of things we are asking teachers to submit that aligns with what we expect teachers and mentors to discuss. Also, the criteria and expectations in edTPA and the way in which it is scored are not the same.  Finally, one of the primary areas that teacher candidates struggled with on the edTPA is the Assessment task.  That is why IA-TPA focused exclusively on that issue.  Where the edTPA asks teacher candidates to submit significant amounts of work products around their lesson planning, instructional materials, and assessments, the IA-TPA focuses on how the design of formative and summative assessments link to the lessons being taught in a single instructional unit and how the data from these assessments is used to differentiate instruction and set goals with students.  For more specifics on the differences between IA-TPA and the edTPA, click here.

How many candidates submissions is a rater expected to score?

The system is designed to limit the number of IA-TPA assessments a rater can score in a given time period in order to reduce scorer bias and fatigue. Having said that, raters will have the flexibility to work when available and at their own pace. More information will be provided during the rater training.

How many hours does it take to complete the four tasks of the IA-TPA assessment?

The amount of time needed to complete the IA-TPA should be relatively small if teachers complete the IA-TPA forms and commentary as they go along. Overall, the IA-TPA covers a single unit of instruction, which can last 4-6 weeks, but the actual completion of the IA-TPA assessment or tool should not take more than 60-90 minutes in total. Task 1 basically asks teachers to summarize their lessons and assessments for the unit of study they have chosen and the scanning and uploading of three blank assignments that they are selecting for the IA-TPA. Tasks 2 and 4 require the uploading of three student samples plus the commentaries. Task 3 requires the submission of a video recording of the differentiated lesson and a goal setting conference that will be naturally occurring in the classroom setting. We would like to encourage beginning teachers and mentors to consider the completion of the IA-TPA as a part of their regular mentoring activities.

If I signed up to complete the IA-TPA assessment last year, will I be automatically enrolled to participate in the following year?

No. First year beginning teachers who sign up to participate in the 2015-16 IA-TPA pilot will not be automatically enrolled to participate next year, but the IA-TPA team will reach out to you next year to encourage your participation. If you are a second year beginning teacher participating in the 2015-16 pilot, you will not be eligible to participate in the 2016-17 field trial. At the present time, the IA-TPA instrument is designed for first and second year teachers only.

Is IA-TPA like AIW (Authentic Intellectual Work)? Isn't there redundancy?

AIW and IA-TPA are similar in the respect that both have a framework or rubrics that create a collaborative conversation around effective teaching, but they have totally different audiences and purposes. AIW is designed for a PLC audience that includes learning teams of 4-6 people. IA-TPA is designed for beginning teacher and mentor conversations. The purpose of AIW is to use the AIW tools, scoring criteria, and protocols, as a springboard for generating ideas for the teacher. The purpose of IA-TPA is to use the online platform and rubrics to examine the beginning teacher’s work and only the mentor has the collegial coaching conversation with the beginning teacher. Granted, both frameworks, look at lesson design, student work, and instruction, but through a different lens; PLC collaborative conversations vs. Mentor-Teacher conversations. IA-TPA is designed specifically for a mentoring and induction program. AIW addresses the Iowa Teaching Standards indirectly, whereas, IA-TPA is designed to align directly to a set of Iowa Standards. If a system has begun to bundle, tasks, student work, and instruction, together, there will be significant similarities between IA-TPA and AIW. However, a first or second year teacher will not have the background in AIW to really analyze whether student learning is reaching the level of expectation due to the design of the task or the instruction. IA-TPA is a great way to immerse a beginning teacher into this level of thinking early in their career. It causes them to pull together the same data that an AIW bundle would and begin to think in a cause-effect manner. It will help them really connect the task, the instruction, and the resulting student work. The similarities are more of a building block than redundancy.

Is the IA-TPA assessment consequential?

No. The IA-TPA is meant to support the development of beginning teachers by making their an active member of the process.

Is the Informed Consent Form used universal, or can a beginning teacher use a form that may already be in place and approved by their district?

As noted in the informed consent materials, candidates are urged to use the forms already in place in their district, unless these are inadequate for the task.

Is the state able to access individual teacher data?

No. All the data gathered during the pilot and field trial will be anonymized with no identifiable data being shared with the state, district, school, or educational agency. However, the teacher will receive their feedback and scores, so they can share the information with their mentor for additional support. There is no additional information that is collected (including student achievement data) that can be used to evaluate or associate the feedback with other data.

Is there a place to download the full IA-TPA assessment?

The tasks are available in the Beginning Teacher IA-TPA Assessment Handbook on the Beginning Teacher and Rater Resource page (password protected and accessible to those participating in the pilot and field trial only). Beginning Teacher will also have access to the IA-TPA through an online platform, where they will also submit their work.

Is there any reciprocity or compensation for being a Rater?

Yes. Raters will receive a payment of $40 for each IA-TPA assessment they score. This will include reviewing the submitted work products, tagging evidence to the rubrics and using the evidence to confirm the recommended score.

Is there any reciprocity or compensation that can be given to Beginning Teachers who participate in the IA-TPA field trial?

All beginning teacher who participate in the IA-TPA field trial will receive a stipend of $25. However, the real value is that a teacher will have the opportunity to receive trained feedback based on the state teaching standards and criteria.

Is there is a plan or form for use of video, and, in the case of classroom students that are in the observation video, do you know if they need releases?

We provided model consent forms for classroom students under the Beginning Teachers > Resources page of the website. Each beginning teacher will need to find out their district’s policy and requirements concerning video recording and teacher, classroom student and parent consent. Beginning teacher have permission to modify the model consent forms for their own use based on district policies and guidelines.

We are already using student work in our PLCs, how would this be different?

The ongoing collaboration experienced within a PLC is all about learning the process of selecting a learning target, implementing a lesson, analyzing student results, and taking steps to make sure all students have learned the intended outcome. Utilizing the IA-TPA could be the assessment against a set of standards to determine whether or not a beginning teacher has adequately learned that process and to identify areas where they may need additional support. Completing the IA-TPA is an opportunity for a beginning teacher to show that they’ve learned and applied those very important components of effective instruction.

What are the key benefits for teachers?

The primary use of the tool is to enrich the discussion between beginning teachers and their mentors by focusing on three core components of good instruction: 1) the alignment of instruction and assessment to standards and student needs; 2) the analysis of student progress from formative to summative assessments, and 3) an analysis that informs differentiation and goal setting within the classroom. Teachers receive targeted feedback on their teaching to improve their practice and annotations on their actual work products based on the IA-TPA rubrics. As a result of this work, teachers will have compiled evidence of their performance around the Iowa Teaching Standards to support their standard license if they choose to use these artifacts in that way.

What do the terms pilot and field trial mean when referring to the use of the IA-TPA assessment?

A pilot is a step that is taken to try out the assessment with a small group of beginning teachers to determine what changes might be necessary to make the tasks and rubrics more reliable and useful to both the beginning teacher and mentor.  Once the changes are made, the next step will be to conduct a formal field trial with a larger group of beginning teachers and mentors to identify further refinements and processes to support the use of the instrument on a larger scale.

What if a candidate is not permitted to use video in their school?

Beginning teachers should consult with their principal or district administrator to discuss other options for how video recording can be used to support the IA-TPA tasks.

What is the purpose of the IA-TPA assessment?

The primary purpose of the IA-TPA is to facilitate a reflective dialogue between beginning teacher and their mentors as a way to better prepare teachers for their work in the classroom.  It also provides the opportunity to capture work products that can be used to build a portfolio of work to meet their standard license.

What is the specific time commitment for a beginning teacher and mentor with the IA-TPA project vs. Innovation Collaborative project?

The primary time commitments for the IA-TPA are focused on the reflective commentaries and uploading of artifacts. This could take as much or as little as 60 minutes to complete in total, but the amount of time required is completely dependent upon the individual. This work should be seen as part of your existing mentoring process. Participation in the Innovation Collaborative includes additional meetings that districts should commit to attending as part of the Collaborative. In 2016-17, there are two face-to-face trainings: one on IA-TPA in the fall and the other in the spring introducing the Danielson 6 Clusters. In 2017-18, there will be four additional meetings: two face to face meetings and two virtual meetings. The two face-to-face sessions include a 5-day training on the 6 Clusters in August and a second session to problem solve and gather feedback in the spring. Between the two face-to-face sessions, two virtual sessions will be conducted to share learnings across the Collaborative.

Who can participate in the pilot and field trial of the IA-TPA?

All beginning teachers in their first or second year can participate in the IA-TPA pilot and field trial.

Who developed the IA-TPA?

The IA-TPA was developed as part of the Teacher Quality Project (TQP) grant.  During the grant, the state worked with Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), to develop a performance assessment for beginning teachers based on key Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria.  The intent was to provide a tool to support a collaborative dialogue between the mentor and beginning teacher to prepare them for their standard license.

Who do I contact for technical support?

For questions about the ShowEvidence system, including getting an account, navigating the platform, and uploading work products, use the following email address:
For questions about signing up to participate, information about the tasks, and rubrics, and how to access the resource page, use the following email:
For questions about mentoring, standard license, DOE policy or other DOE related questions, use the following email address:

Why is the IA-TPA scored if it is meant to be a coaching tool?

The IA-TPA is designed to be a formative assessment tool that mentors can use when working with their beginning teachers. During the pilot and field trial, the collection of scores is critical to determining the reliability of the instrument as a mentoring tool. Furthermore, with any formative assessment, the best practice is to recognize areas of strength and areas needing improvement, so scores provide a way to see where teachers stand relative to each domain in the rubric, with the mentor’s goal of helping their teachers reach proficiency of the Iowa Teaching Standards.

Will Beginning Teacher know who is scoring their submitted work for each task?

No. The identities of both the beginning teacher and rater will be confidential and anonymous to one another. The identify will only be known to the project team managing the assessment process.

Will Beginning Teacher receive feedback on their submission?

Yes. Beginning teachers will receive feedback on their submission, within several weeks, based on the rubrics and the evidence in their work products. This feedback does not come until after the scoring is completed and reviewed. These scores will only be accessible by the beginning teacher, which they can share with their mentor.

Will beginning teachers be prompted for a list of artifacts/submission material as they submit everything and if they are missing something, will they know or be able to see what needs to be done?

The IA-TPA digital platform will show the beginning teacher what they need to submit. The artifacts and work products are clustered into four tasks – unit of instruction, analysis of learning, intervention and goal setting, and analysis of learning progress. The system will show which work product have been uploaded and what is missing, but not whether any artifact is incomplete.

Will beginning teachers receive a score after submitting the IA-TPA assessment?

Yes. Beginning Teachers who participate in the IA-TPA field trial will receive feedback and scores from their mentors within several weeks of submitting their work products. These scores will only be accessible to the beginning teacher and mentor. The IA-TPA project will have access to the same scores to evaluate the reliability of the assessment, but the identity of the beginning teacher will be confidential.

Will Mentors be able to view the scores and work products submitted by the beginning teachers they support who participate in the IA-TPA field trial?

For the field trial, mentors will have the ability to view the work submitted by their beginning teachers and provide feedback using the IA-TPA rubrics.

Will raters have to come to meetings for training and scoring or can they participate virtually?

The system is designed to be virtual, which allows qualified scorers to participate remotely. Scorer training will be done in person and on-line. This allows scorers to work at their own pace and repeat the training until they reach proficiency on the assessment scoring reliability standards.

Will the data from the IA-TPA tasks be shared with my district or the state?

No. The data from the IA-TPA tasks will be shared with the beginning teacher only, which they can in turn share with their mentor. All work products will be blind scored by a group of raters to enable the design team to understand the reliability of the tasks.

Will the raters be paid for their training time?

Raters have to be qualified before they can review and score work for the IA-TPA assessment. We therefore provide a professional development training opportunity for potential raters to learn what it takes to become a rater, understand the rubrics, and how to evaluate products of practice submitted by teachers. This training occurs before the person is actually hired by the project as a consultant. The online portion of the training takes approximately 3 hours and involves learning the rubric and doing some sample scoring. There is also a post-training sample that will be used to determine if the rater is scoring the work reliably. If the potential rater scores consistently across the training samples both during and after the training, they will be eligible to become a rater consultant if they wish to join the project. Not all potential raters can either qualify or may want to participate in the actual project as a rater. Thus, they are not paid for the rater training. Once hired, raters will then be paid $40 for each IA-TPA assessment they review and score.

Will this assessment be normed at some point?

There is no plan to norm the assessment. The IA-TPA is a formative assessment that is being developed for mentors to use with their beginning teachers. Collecting the data anonymously allows the design team to analyze the results to validate that the tasks are collecting information that is useful for feedback during the induction phase and that the rubrics are producing accurate and consistent results and feedback. Once the study is complete, the tool will be available for mentors to use with their beginning teachers.