FAQs for Graduating MAT Students

Determination of Degree Date

A student must complete ALL degree requirements on or before the last day of a term to be eligible to graduate in that term.

When will my Academic Advisor Submit a Degree Check Application

The degree check application for a student pursing a master’s degree should be submitted a least one semester prior to the student’s expected term of completion.

What is the edTPA?

The edTPA is a standardized performance assessment that all teacher candidates must pass in order to be recommended for a California preliminary teaching credential.  The purpose of the edTPA is to measure novice teachers’ readiness to teach.  This assessment is designed with a focus on student achievement and teacher reflection.

The edTPA has 3 primary tasks: Planning for instruction and assessment, Instruction and engaging students in learning, and Assessing student learning.  You will first plan 3-5 hours of consecutive and connected instruction, then record yourself teaching, and finally provide evidence of student learning.  Below is a graphic that provides the conceptual framework for the edTPA:

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A primary part of your edTPA is the evidence that you submit to show how well you plan, instruct, and assess.  This evidence is separated into two categories: Artifacts and Commentaries.  Artifacts are items that represent your work and your students’ work.  Items include lesson plans, instructional materials, video evidence of you teaching, student work samples, and evidence of feedback.  Commentaries are written responses that accompany your artifacts that allow you to describe your artifacts and provide explanations for your pedagogical and curricular choices.


When do I need to concern myself with the edTPA?

You collect your artifacts in late GP-A and then write your commentaries and submit your entire edTPA in mid-late GP-B.

What materials do I need to successfully complete the edTPA?

The primary materials that you need are your content specific edTPA handbooks and other support materials.  The edTPA coordinator will provide all of these materials to you at the beginning of GP-A.  There is an edTPA tutorial in the orientation materials on the LMS.  The edTPA coordinator will also host webinars and visit your classes to review edTPA requirements.

What is the scoring standard?

 California requires a passing score of 41 for single subject candidates, and a 49 for multiple subject candidates (multiple subject candidates have an extra section for their edTPA). The edTPA is comprised of 15 rubrics on a 5 point scale (18 rubrics on a 5 point scale for Multiple Subject candidates).

What is the pass rate? 

USC’s first time pass rate is above the national average at about 84% (as of December 2016).

What if I don’t pass the first time?

You will work with the edTPA coordinator on a resubmission plan.  There is no limit to how many times you can attempt a resubmission.  Most people who fail the first time pass their resubmission.

Can I get my master’s degree without passing the edTPA?

Technically, yes.  Your edTPA is part of your credentialing requirements, not your coursework requirements that determine your ability to receive a master’s degree.  However, in order for USC to verify you as a state approved teacher preparation program completer, you must complete all of your coursework and successfully pass the edTPA.  This designation is important to many credentialing agencies, including California’s.

I don’t live in California.  Do I still need to take the edTPA?

Yes.  If you live out of state, once you pass your edTPA and satisfy the rest of your credential requirements, USC will recommend you to California’s credentialing agency (CTC) for a preliminary teaching credential, after which you will transfer to the state of your choosing.

Who grades the edTPA?

Trained and calibrated evaluators from Pearson Inc.

How much does the edTPA cost?


How do I register for the edTPA?

The edTPA coordinator will provide uploading and submission instructions in late GP-A and early GP-B.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the edTPA?

Please contact Kent Peterson at kentpete@usc.edu or call 213-740-6519.

Returning USC Student Degree Completion Requirements

Determine what requirements are left for graduation

Frequently, the Registrar’s Office receives requests from former USC students who attended, but did not graduate, to find out what degree requirements remain outstanding. For students who have not attended in many years, Degree Progress staff members spend a considerable amount of time to locate records, determine degree requirements, and prepare degree checks which itemize remaining requirements. In consideration of the resources required to prepare these degree checks, a document preparation fee has been established.