Teacher Preparation

Teacher-Certification Test in N.Y. Delayed for Fourth Time

By Stephen Sawchuk — April 20, 2016 2 min read
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Just as it did recently with teacher evaluations tied to student achievement tests, New York is posed to walk back its efforts to heighten its requirements for entrance into the teaching profession.

The state’s board of regents, for the fourth time in as many years, has delayed the requirement that teacher candidates pass the edTPA, a performance-based test that requires a video submission of the prospective teacher’s classroom skill. The latest delay moves the requirement back to June 2017.

All teacher candidates were initially supposed to pass the exam by May 2013. Now, under the most recent delay, they may continue to pass an alternate, easier exam instead, which has had higher passing rates and doesn’t include the performance component. (The board extended similar “safety nets” for several other tests candidates have to take, too.)

And that’s not all: The regents will also decide whether to press for other long-term changes to teacher certification, Politico reports. Those include the requirement, added in a 2015 budget deal, that master’s degree programs preparing teachers admit only students with 3.0 GPA or higher.

New York’s overhaul of teacher certification began in 2009 and was fueled by the state’s Race to the Top win. Its rollout, though, has been painted as too sudden and having proceeded without enough involvement of teachers, candidates, and preparation programs, though state officials have disputed such characterizations.

Of the new certification exams, the edTPA has been the most polarizing. The exam has been unpopular among candidates for its alleged rigidity and its $300 cost; among teacher education faculty, who say they should be the ones making the decision about whether candidates are ready to teach; and because of other factors, such as the requirement that candidates obtain permission from parents to videotape students and the selection of Pearson to oversee exam scoring.

The American Federation of Teachers once said it supported a “bar exam” for teaching, but the experience of edTPA in New York seems to have altered its perspective. United University Professors, an affiliate of the New York State United Teachers, the New York AFT branch, has been among the most forceful critics of the edTPA.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.