David DeMatthews and Christopher P. Brown
The Texas Condition Board for Educator Certification a short while ago adopted a new trainer certification examination, referred to as edTPA.
On the area, this is anything the point out really should be applauded for – increasing the top quality of the teacher workforce is a noble notion. But there is a main issue. The timing and negative opportunity impact of this new test on the trainer workforce is out of stage with the realities of Texas public universities, especially in the midst of the pandemic.
The goal of any teacher certification exam is to ensure the condition has high-quality instructors in each classroom, but our point out has struggled to guarantee an ample provide of good quality teachers even just before the pandemic. This has disproportionality afflicted urban and rural universities with bigger percentages of low-cash flow learners and students of coloration.
Including a new examination will not make improvements to this longstanding trouble. In reality, a single could argue it is effective versus the state’s goals.
Any certification policy adjustment will have to take into account the state’s need for a provide of excellent instructors. A commonsense policy during a pandemic and surge of teacher resignations would be to lessen the value of instructor certification, which could be a barrier for competent candidates. Yet, the adoption of edTPA would raise money burdens on aspiring academics since the exam expenses $311, which is on top rated of other fees or option trainer planning programs.
In reality, an aspiring teacher completing a bachelor’s degree can now assume to shell out a lot more than $700 in expenses to go over the certification test and other required matters these as fingerprinting.
The new exam also could reduce the provide and variety of the trainer workforce in an additional problematic way. A latest examine of edTPA in Washington state concluded that Hispanic teachers were being a few instances as likely as their peers to fail the examination, which would imply these candidates would possibly consider the examination many occasions at an additional cost or would be unable to acquire a certification.
At the incredibly least, this should really elevate issue about opportunity screening biases, specially in a point out in which nearly 30% of academics determine as Hispanic.
On top of that, the new examination is not sensitive to the pandemic realities of Texas classrooms. Candidates having the edTPA are expected to submit video clip recordings of their instruction in classrooms with students. To file learners, candidates have to collect parental consent, which provides to the stress of parents and mentor teachers in an previously nerve-racking time. No trainer or administrator desires much more do the job ideal now. And absenteeism due to COVID-19 infections, which has resulted in considerable disruption to training and discovering, provides extra troubles.
The edTPA was intended by a team of hugely skilled Stanford University professors and specialists. We envision they too would query the efficacy of a significant-stakes test relying on these an unpredictable and disrupted classroom atmosphere.
Only 18 states have adopted this test, and some now have finished absent with it thanks to implementation complications. Texas should really contemplate this. In addition, researchers have been careful to draw any broad conclusions about the predictive validity of the examination – the extent to which the certification will final result in enhanced student achievement outcomes for college students. So, why would Texas make a decision to employ this amid a pandemic and without having crystal clear study to recommend it will positively impact the instructor workforce?
As instruction scientists, we are not sure. At a minimal, the condition ought to hold off any selections on edTPA for a couple decades right until after the pandemic subsides. As an alternative, policymakers must take into account other interventions for improving upon the instructor workforce these types of as waiving the value of teacher certification examinations, boosting instructor salaries, and supporting districts with substitute teacher protection so instructors do not need to be confused with masking several classes when a colleague is ill with COVID. This is the kind of assistance lecturers want.
There was no need to have to shift ahead with edTPA underneath these problems, and the state ought to rethink the decision. As an alternative, Texas demands commonsense insurance policies to fill teacher vacancies, assistance the existing workforce, and keep academics who are more and more on the lookout to exit the profession.
David DeMatthews is an associate professor in the Section of Instructional Management and Policy and Christopher P. Brown is a professor in the Section of Instructional Management and Plan, both at The University of Texas at Austin.