Assessment

Appeals Court To Review Calif. Teacher Test for Bias

By David J. Hoff — April 05, 2000 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A federal appeals court has agreed to take another look at a long-running lawsuit claiming California’s teacher-testing program is biased against minority candidates.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit announced last week that it would review the case that a three-judge appellate panel dismissed last year. The announcement gives advocates for more than 50,000 teacher applicants who failed the exam another chance for victory in the 8-year-old case.

Public Advocates Inc. argues that the California Basic Educational Skills Test, or CBEST, violates federal anti-discrimination laws because it is not an accurate way to measure a prospective teacher’s skill in the classroom and has a negative impact on minority members.

The state already has tacitly admitted that the testing program in its original form was invalid, contends John T. Affeldt, a managing lawyer for Public Advocates, which represents the three groups suing the state. In 1995, an expert hired by the state said the math portions of the exam didn’t measure the skills needed to be a teacher. The state then revised the exam, and the passing rates of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American test-takers improved, Mr. Affeldt said.

But the improvements haven’t been sufficient for the San Francisco nonprofit law firm to drop its case, he added.

No Admission

While a lawyer representing the state acknowledged that the test did change, she said the adjustments were part of a regular review of the testing system to ensure that it continues to meet its purpose.

“It was not an admission that [the test as it existed before 1995] was not valid,” said Nancy E. Rafuse, an Atlanta-based lawyer for the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing.

An 11-judge panel from the 9th Circuit in San Francisco will hear such arguments. The appeals court decided to review the smaller panel’s ruling that CBEST was a valid test for determining whether teaching applicants were qualified to work in the state’s classrooms.

The new appellate review, which hasn’t been scheduled, will be the last step before a potential appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Public Advocates is representing the Association of Mexican American Educators, the Oakland Alliance of Black Educators, and the California Association for Asian Pacific Bilingual Education.

A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2000 edition of Education Week as Appeals Court To Review Calif. Teacher Test for Bias

Events

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.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
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.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

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

Assessment A Huge Publisher and a Big Testing Company Are Teaming Up. What This Means for Educators
Four key questions to consider about how the pairing of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NWEA might affect educators.
3 min read
Students testing.
Getty
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment
This Spotlight will help you examine updated testing guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Ed, analyze college-placement test scores, and more.

Assessment Opinion We Are More Than Our Grades: A Student's Perspective
Students have come to believe that their GPA and test scores are the ultimate reflection of their self-worth, writes a college senior.
Bailey Striepling
3 min read
Conceptual illustration of Students emerging from a field of giant discarded letter grades.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images
Assessment Letter to the Editor Grading for Growth Through Competency-Based Education
Competency-based education can better prepare today's children for tomorrow's challenges, writes this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty