news-category: Academics

GWU College of Education Programs Achieve Perfect Score for Four Consecutive Semesters

a photo of Craig Hall with the flag pole in front

22 Teaching Candidates Pass edTPA Assessment with Eight Reaching Highly Qualified Level

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—For four consecutive semesters, the Gardner-Webb University College of Education and its education programs have received a perfect—100 percent pass—rate on the edTPA. This performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system is used by teacher preparation programs throughout the United States. Success on the edTPA demonstrates a student candidate’s readiness for a full-time classroom teaching assignment.

Prince Bull
Dr. Prince Bull

Dean of the College of Education Dr. Prince Bull announced the achievement. “For the Spring 2021 edTPA examination, we are 22 of 22 passing with eight candidates at the highly qualified (HQ) level,” he said. “To achieve excellence is the dream of most Educator Preparation Programs, but at GWU, our goal is to sustain excellence. What is remarkable is that we continue to maintain excellence with more candidates attempting the examination. Our first group was just five candidates. Today, we celebrate the same distinction with 22 candidates.”

The eight candidates who scored at the HQ level are:

  • Madeline Bame, vocal music.
  • Elizabeth Hardin, elementary education.
  • Ashley Kieffer, elementary education.
  • Melissa Ramsey, elementary education.
  • Allyson Rideout, elementary education.
  • Tracie Rowell, elementary education.
  • Jacob Russell, elementary education.
  • Stephanie Varner, elementary education.

Bull also recognized the faculty and program coordinators. Donna Suttle is the edTPA coordinator, and Dr. Lane Wesson, professor of education, is the coordinator of teacher education. Faculty members Dr. Joey Lord and Dr. Diana Betts teach elementary education. Education program coordinators include Dr. Shana Hartman (English), Dr. Kathryn Davis (PE), Dr. Jason Willis (math), Dr. Eric Johnson (music), and Dr. Tamara Cox (foreign languages).

An essential part of edTPA is the evidence the candidate must submit on how he or she has planned, taught, and assessed lessons to deepen student learning and success, noted Suttle. “Each content area has a different handbook with specific instructions related to planning, content tasks, teaching and videoing requirements, student work samples, assessments, and commentaries to write,” she added. “The success of GWU students with edTPA points to a team effort. The GWU College of Education and other undergraduate content courses have embedded edTPA components into the instructional process of teaching and learning. Education candidates are quickly introduced to the edTPA academic language, lesson plan development, commentary requirements, and rubrics for assessment.”

Following these early courses, candidates are provided the opportunity to continue to deepen their understanding of effective teaching and how to address edTPA requirements as they take education courses. “In addition, candidates are provided the opportunity to take edTPA classes and attend edTPA Boot Camps for feedback and support throughout their student teaching semester,” Suttle shared. “The recognition for passing edTPA requirements is vitally important. Students must pass edTPA requirements in order to obtain a clear N.C. teaching license.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at 

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