Department of Public Education to Eliminate Exam Requirements for Teachers-in-Training | Education
Teacher certification exams, often compared to the SAT, could be coming to an end for many future educators in New Mexico.
State Department of Public Education officials announced on Friday that they plan to overhaul the teacher licensing system, removing the requirement for the time-consuming and costly tests and instead offering an option based on a portfolio for trainee teachers to demonstrate their skills.
“We think a portfolio-based process is actually much better and really about what happens in the classroom,” Assistant Public Education Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment told committee lawmakers. study on legislative education during a discussion on the plan.
The proposal, which is due to take effect July 1, raised concerns for State Sen. Bill Soules, a Democrat from Las Cruces, who questioned whether a portfolio would be able to show a teacher is competent. in mathematics – an area in which New Mexico students fared poorly.
“How would a portfolio demonstrate that they were able to do college-level math?” asked Soules.
Warniment said an educator’s ability to teach math can be determined by classroom observations.
Emily Hoxie, senior policy analyst at the Legislative Education Review Committee, said research shows a “mixed bag” when it comes to whether tests demonstrate teacher competence.
“Research tends to lean toward — testing can determine how effective a teacher in a classroom is in terms of student achievement,” she said.
At the same time, Hoxie said, “What we’re hearing from stakeholders that what we need in New Mexico is an alternative demonstration of skill.”
Currently, the state uses a series of exams through a company called Praxis. People who want to become elementary school teachers must pass exams in reading, writing, and math, as well as other tests related to teaching ability.
A test, a reading exam, will remain mandatory for all teachers, officials said.
Warniment said other exams will also be available for prospective teachers who would rather take the tests than complete a portfolio.
New Mexico is one of 15 U.S. states that require basic competency exams for teachers, though nearly all states require some sort of licensing test, according to the New Mexico Association of Colleges of Education. Mexico.
The association previously reported that 55% of people tested in the state fail skills exams on their first attempt.
Test costs for teachers can range from $425 to $700.
Soules suggested that the state could subsidize testing costs for prospective teachers.
The Department of Education, which largely oversees teacher preparation programs in New Mexico, is also considering revising the state’s record curriculum for teachers who want to upgrade from a Tier 1 to Tier 2 license. The dossier – a collection of documents – shows their teaching methods, student communication skills and professional learning ability.
Teachers moving from level 2 to level 3 must obtain a master’s degree.
A 2019 review of the teacher licensing system found that people assessing applications essentially endorse all applicants, raising concerns that the system is doing little to ensure the quality of senior-level teachers, the Committee says. study on legislative education.
“It’s a PED issue with their examiners,” said state Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque. “It’s been a good process in the past, and if it’s not working now, it’s because we’ve abandoned the process ourselves.”
Hoxie said national research shows that licensing systems should allow good teachers to progress, but also encourage ineffective teachers to seek more training or leave the system.
She added that the Department of Public Education is exploring a micro-accreditation process, in which Tier 1 teachers could complete a number of online courses to advance to Tier Two.
“It’s something that PED is in the early stages of planning,” Hoxie said.