Teaching Profession

Alternative Teacher-Licensing Exam Has Setback in Pa.

By Bess Keller — January 28, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

One of the two states that had agreed to accept a series of national tests as the sole basis for teacher licensing appears to have reversed itself on the issue.

At least for the time being, Pennsylvania is requiring candidates who have passed the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence exams to enroll in state-approved education programs and complete internships under its auspices before receiving standard state certification.

That’s a far cry from the streamlined entry into the teaching profession promised by the ABCTE, which said Pennsylvania had adopted the tests for licensing in November 2002. And, indeed, the state board of education seemed originally to approve the tests for that purpose.

Other Requirements

Pennsylvania is one of just two states that have embraced the ABCTE system. Idaho followed Pennsylvania’s lead last fall.

What’s clear now, however, is that aspiring new teachers who might have envisioned taking the board’s tests and receiving a Pennsylvania license without necessarily having to take courses or enroll in college-level teacher preparation won’t be able to go that route.

“We’re maintaining that there has to be an internship completed before a person can get” standard certification, said Brian Christopher, a spokesman for the state department of education.

The leadership in the department has changed since the state appeared willing to accept the ABCTE. Secretary of Education Vicki L. Phillips was appointed a year ago by Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell. He succeeded Gov. Mark S. Schweiker, a Republican.

Mr. Christopher said the role that the board’s tests might play in licensing is the subject of “ongoing discussions” between representatives of the ABCTE and state education officials.

No Further Applications

For its part, the ABCTE has stopped accepting applications from candidates seeking certification in Pennsylvania.

“We look forward to reopening the application period again” after March 31, says a notice on the Washington-based group’s Web site.

But an ABCTE spokeswoman denied that the change had to do with the discussions between the ABCTE and state education officials. “The reason is really and truly about our capacity to serve the candidates whose applications we’re receiving properly,” said Buffy DeBreaux-Watts, the group’s director of marketing and outreach.

Ms. DeBreaux-Watts said that more than 100 people nationally have signed up for the tests, which were administered for the first time, in some subjects and at some levels, in August. The next test administration is set for next month, she said.

She did not know whether there had been candidates for Pennsylvania certification in the first group of test-takers, but state education officials said no one yet had been granted a standard license on the basis of the tests.

From the beginning, the ABCTE has faced an uphill battle against teachers’ unions and schools of education, which say passing tests is not enough to qualify teachers for the classroom. The group has, however, won support from the U.S. Department of Education, which favors opening new routes into the classroom.

The Education Department recently gave ABCTE $35 million, which will allow it to offer a “virtual” mentoring program for novice educators, and help underwrite master-teacher certification and subject-area exams. (“Critics Question Federal Funding of Teacher Test,” Oct. 8, 2003.)

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 28, 2004 edition of Education Week as Alternative Teacher-Licensing Exam Has Setback in Pa.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers' Favorite Reads This Summer
Teachers shared some of their summer book selections, with a wide variety of subject matter and genres.
2 min read
Woman reading book in hammock
Liz Yap/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession The Truth About Teachers' Summers
Teachers endure many misperceptions about their jobs. Perhaps the most egregious has to do with their summer break.
5 min read
Orange sandals by a pool.
Teaching Profession In Their Own Words How This 'Goofy Science Teacher' Made It to the U.S. Open in Golf
High school science teacher and golf coach Colin Prater just played in one of the world's most prestigious golf tournaments.
6 min read
Colin Prater hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament on June 12, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C.
Colin Prater hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament on June 12, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C.
Frank Franklin II/AP
Teaching Profession Teachers: Start Your School Supplies Shopping Now With These Discounts
As teachers start back-to-school shopping, Education Week compiled a list of educator discounts that can reduce costs.
3 min read
Photo of school supplies.