David DeMatthews and Christopher P. Brown
The Texas Point out Board for Educator Certification recently adopted a new instructor certification exam, identified as edTPA.
On the area, this is some thing the point out must be applauded for – raising the top quality of the teacher workforce is a noble plan. But there is a big trouble. The timing and detrimental prospective affect of this new test on the instructor workforce is out of move with the realities of Texas community universities, notably in the midst of the pandemic.
The aim of any instructor certification exam is to make sure the point out has excellent academics in each and every classroom, but our state has struggled to assure an suitable supply of high quality teachers even right before the pandemic. This has disproportionality afflicted city and rural educational facilities with larger percentages of low-revenue students and pupils of coloration.
Including a new test will not boost this longstanding dilemma. In reality, a single could argue it performs towards the state’s targets.
Any certification coverage adjustment should consider the state’s demand from customers for a provide of quality instructors. A commonsense plan in the course of a pandemic and surge of trainer resignations would be to reduced the expense of teacher certification, which could be a barrier for qualified applicants. Still, the adoption of edTPA would boost monetary burdens on aspiring instructors because the examination costs $311, which is on best of other charges or substitute trainer preparing programs.
In fact, an aspiring teacher completing a bachelor’s degree can now anticipate to spend more than $700 in charges to protect the certification test and other wanted factors these as fingerprinting.
The new exam also could reduce the offer and variety of the teacher workforce in a further problematic way. A recent review of edTPA in Washington state concluded that Hispanic lecturers had been 3 moments as most likely as their friends to are unsuccessful the exam, which would imply these candidates would both acquire the exam multiple periods at an additional price or would be not able to obtain a certification.
At the quite minimum, this really should elevate worry about prospective screening biases, especially in a point out exactly where almost 30% of academics detect as Hispanic.
Additionally, the new examination is not delicate to the pandemic realities of Texas classrooms. Candidates having the edTPA are needed to submit online video recordings of their instruction in school rooms with learners. To record learners, candidates ought to acquire parental consent, which provides to the load of dad and mom and mentor instructors in an currently annoying time. No trainer or administrator desires far more do the job suitable now. And absenteeism because of to COVID-19 infections, which has resulted in considerable disruption to training and finding out, adds additional challenges.
The edTPA was developed by a group of hugely qualified Stanford University professors and authorities. We visualize they far too would dilemma the efficacy of a significant-stakes examination relying on these kinds of an unpredictable and disrupted classroom surroundings.
Only 18 states have adopted this test, and some by now have carried out away with it owing to implementation troubles. Texas really should look at this. What’s more, researchers have been careful to attract any broad conclusions about the predictive validity of the exam – the extent to which the certification will result in enhanced college student achievement results for pupils. So, why would Texas make a decision to apply this amid a pandemic and without having obvious analysis to counsel it will positively influence the trainer workforce?
As education researchers, we are not positive. At a minimum amount, the point out must hold off any decisions on edTPA for a number of a long time until eventually just after the pandemic subsides. As an alternative, policymakers need to look at other interventions for improving the trainer workforce this kind of as waiving the price tag of instructor certification tests, elevating teacher salaries, and supporting districts with substitute teacher protection so teachers do not need to be confused with covering several classes when a colleague is ill with COVID. This is the type of aid teachers have to have.
There was no will need to move forward with edTPA under these problems, and the point out need to rethink the conclusion. In its place, Texas demands commonsense guidelines to fill trainer vacancies, support the current workforce, and keep teachers who are ever more searching to exit the job.
David DeMatthews is an associate professor in the Office of Academic Management and Policy and Christopher P. Brown is a professor in the Section of Educational Management and Coverage, both at The University of Texas at Austin.