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Testing Teacher Candidates: The Role of Licensure Tests in Improving Teacher Quality
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MINORITY AND MAJORITY CANDIDATES ON TEACHER LICENSING TESTS
Though licensure testing programs generally report passing rates rather than average scores for their candidates, the committee was able to obtain group means from ETS for the Praxis tests it reviewed earlier in this chapter (Educational Testing Service, prepared March 22, 2001). Tables 5–3 and 5–4 report data for the Pre-Professional Skills Test in Reading and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (K-6) test. There were too few test takers in some population groups to report average score data for the Middle School/English Language Arts test, the Mathematics: Proof, Models, and Problems: Part 1 test, and Parts 1 and 2 of the Biology Content Knowledge test. These Praxis I and PLT data are from the 1998/1999 administrations of the tests and include the most recent testing records for candidates testing more than once during that period. For both tests, average scores for the groups are presented in Table 5–3, and the differences between group averages (in standard deviation units) are given in Table 5–4. Some of the limitations of these data are described below.
Table 5–3 shows that the average scores of minority candidates on the PPST in Reading and the PLT (K-6) for 1998/1999 were lower than those of white candidates. Table 5–4 shows that the difference between the average scores of African American and white test takers on the 1998/1999 PPST in reading was 1.2 standard deviations. The difference between Hispanic and white average scores for 1998/1999 was 0.7 standard deviations. The difference in the average scores of African American and white candidates on the PLT (K-6) test for
TABLE 5–3 Average Praxis Scores for 1998–1999 Test Takers by Racial/Ethnic Group