Tag Archives: Writing Commentary

Examples of High-Scoring Planning Commentary

Two types of writing required for assembling a portfolio include descriptive and analytical.

Descriptive writing is logical, well-ordered, with sufficient detail so the assessor comprehends the lesson plans, the students, and explanations supporting decisions about instruction.

Analytical writing consists of explanations and interpretations based on evidence. Evidence for Task 1 includes lesson plans, the Context for Learning, and instructional materials. These should be referenced often in the commentary.

Some general strategies to consider when responding to commentary prompts include

1) Addressing each clause of a compound question
2) Citing evidence, such as lesson plans or assessments, to support claims
3) Providing examples
4) Maximizing page count, such as writing 10 pages for an 11 page limit
5) Referencing research or theory, when prompted

The exemplary commentary responses1 shown below earned high scores on planning rubrics.

Elementary Literacy Elementary Mathematics English as Additional Language
English Language Arts Family Consumer Science Health Education
History Social Studies Mathematics for Secondary Performing Arts
Physical Education Science for Secondary Special Education
Visual Arts World Languages

1. The commentaries shown above have been shared with permission of the authors.

Developing Retake Commentary Responses

Student teachers who fail edTPA may retake the assessment by submitting one task or the entire portfolio. Submitting revised and edited versions of portfolio parts, including commentary, is not permitted (www.edtpa.com).

Approaches to retaking edTPA vary depending on specific deficiencies. However, an analysis of one example1 for special education shows some general considerations for earning additional points.

For example, comparing an original and new commentary response shows

  • Additional description – increasing word count
  • Use of handbook terms and concepts – pre-assessment, baseline data, rubric
  • Quantitative results – reporting standardized test and pre-assessment scores
  • Articulation of effective practice – chunking content, having students revise work

Comparison of Original and New Commentary

1. All student details, such as standardized test scores and names of tests – along with other background information – have been changed to ensure anonymity. Original and new responses shared with permission of the author.

Responding to Task 1 Commentary Prompts

The purpose of edTPA, according to handbook statements, is to measure novice readiness to teach. However, since most of the portfolio consists of candidates’ written response to commentary prompts, it is also, to some degree, a measure of writing proficiency.

Read some Example Responses to help with your writing.

Two types of writing frequently required for assembling a portfolio include descriptive and analytical.

Descriptive writing should be logical, well-ordered, with sufficient detail so the assessor comprehends the lesson plans, the students, and explanations supporting decisions about instruction.

Analytical writing consists of explanations and interpretations based on evidence. Evidence for Task 1 includes lesson plans, the Context for Learning, and instructional materials. These should be referenced often in the commentary.

Some general strategies to consider when responding to commentary prompts include 1) break down questions into their component parts, 2) maximize page limits by supporting claims with evidence and including one or more examples per prompt, and 3) note that writing prompts often correspond to rubrics, such as prompt 1 and rubric 1. However, also note that this correspondence is not perfectly true, since prompt 5 corresponds to rubric 5 and 2.