Teacher Education

5 Ways to Support ETS PPAT Candidates

5 Ways to Support ETS PPAT Candidates

Are you a cooperating teacher or supervising instructor for the ETS PPAT assessment?

If so, you have a responsibility to support candidates—and support comes in all shapes and sizes. While one candidate may need help keeping track of deadlines, another may need assistance finding appropriate resources.

So how can you best support your ETS PPAT candidates? We’re sharing 5 ways below. 

For more information on the PPAT assessment, check out our article: Understanding the PPAT Assessment: A Beginner’s Guide

1. Create a Checklist

A good place to start with PPAT is getting organized. The PPAT Assessment requires several task submissions, so to help your candidates stay organized and meet submission deadlines, encourage them to create a checklist. 

A candidate’s checklist may outline the key elements of each task. Make sure your candidates have all of the necessary points in order to finish the task on time. You may encourage them to include the following points:

  • Read each task and rubric carefully
  • Develop a timeline for completing each task
  • Plan to do several trial video recordings
  • Double-check responses for each task
  • Make a copy of every document upon submission

Because PPAT is a long process, it’s crucial for candidates to stay on track. Be sure to re-emphasize the importance of checklists with your candidates as they go through each task.

2. Review Rubrics and Examples

After creating a checklist, review the ETS PPAT rubrics and examples with your candidates. The ETS PPAT rubrics clearly identify expectations for each task, so review the rubrics with your candidates and remind them to compare their responses before submitting a task. 

In addition to the rubrics, PPAT has provided a Library of Examples for candidates to reference. The Library of Examples includes written responses submitted by previous test-takers. Each example includes two examples: a stronger and weaker written response. Having two examples will help candidates identify whether or not their responses are sufficient. 

By reviewing the ETS PPAT rubrics and written responses from the Library of Examples, your candidates will be able to better visualize what a strong performance looks like. 

3. Review Writing Styles

Every task of the ETS PPAT assessment requires some form of written response. Help your students crush their assessment by reviewing writing skills and styles. As described in the handbook, the ETS PPAT assessment encourages the use of three kinds of writing: descriptive, analytic, and reflective. 

Descriptive Writing

Candidates should use the descriptive writing style when asked to explain detailed information. Descriptive writing should be precise and include every element of whatever is being described. 

Analytic Writing

Analytical writing is used to show the significance of the evidence submitted. It should show raters the thought processes candidates used to arrive at conclusions made about a teaching situation or event. 

Reflective Writing

Reflective writing allows candidates to think about what did and did not occur during a teaching event. Candidates should use reflective writing to decide how to approach similar situations in the future. 

4. Use the Ancillary Materials

After reviewing writing styles, instructors should guide candidates in locating and using online resources. The ancillary materials were created for teacher candidates, EPP instructors, and cooperating teachers. The materials include a glossary, lesson plan format, daily reflection form, and professional growth plan. 


The glossary includes over 60 essential terms for candidates to know in order to pass the ETS PPAT assessment. 

Lesson Plan Format

The lesson plan format helps candidates organize and develop lesson plans in order to meet students’ needs. This tool can be used for tasks 2, 3, and 4. 

Daily Reflection Form

The daily reflection form was designed to improve instructional practices by having candidates self-reflect on their teaching practices. 

Professional Growth Plan

The professional growth plan helps candidates facilitate a continuous growth and learning process.

Be sure both you and your candidate take advantage of these excellent resources!

5. Provide Feedback

As a mentor, you should not edit or score candidates’ work. The work that candidates submit must be theirs alone. Instead, you are encouraged to provide feedback using questioning techniques. 

Instead of changing or correcting candidates’ work, you may ask questions such as: 

  • What was your thought process? 
  • What were your goals and intentions? 
  • What do you want to accomplish? 
  • What do you feel you need to improve?

Your goal should be to guide candidates to make good instructional choices, rather than making them yourself. Thought-provoking questions (like the ones listed above) will help to guide your candidates.

5 Ways to Support ETS PPAT Candidates Share on X

These 5 tips will help you successfully support your ETS PPAT assessment candidates. While support isn’t limited to these points, we believe this list is a good place to start. For more information about supporting ETS PPAT candidates, check out the PPAT handbook for candidates and educators or visit the ETS website.