POLICY OPTIONS

The disadvantages that many minority candidates face as a result of their teacher licensure test scores is not a small matter. These disparate outcomes also affect society in a variety of ways. The committee contends that the effects of group differences on licensure tests are so substantial that it will be difficult to offset their impact without confronting them directly. To the extent that differences in test performance are a function of uneven educational opportunities for different groups, reducing disparities in the educational opportunities available to minority candidates throughout their educational careers is an important policy goal. This will take concerted effort over a sustained period of time. In the shorter run, colleges and universities that prepare teaching candidates who need greater developmental supports may need greater resources to invest in and ensure minority students’ educational progress and success.

The committee also believes it is critically important that, where there is evidence of substantial disparate impact, work must be done to evaluate the validity of tests and to strengthen the relationships between tests and the knowledge, skills, abilities, and dispositions needed for teaching. In these instances the quality of the validity evidence is very important.

CONCLUSION

The committee used its evaluation framework to evaluate a sample of five widely used tests produced by the Educational Testing Service. The tests the committee reviewed met most of its criteria for technical quality, although there were some areas for improvement. The committee also attempted to review a sample of National Evaluation Systems tests. Despite concerted and repeated efforts, though, the committee was unable to obtain sufficient information on the technical characteristics of tests produced by NES and thus could draw no conclusions about their technical quality.

On all of the tests that the committee reviewed, minority candidates had lower passing rates than nonminority candidates on their initial testing attempts. Though differences between the passing rates of candidate groups eventually decrease because many unsuccessful test takers retake and pass the tests, eventual passing rates for minority candidates are still lower than those for nonminority test takers.

The committee concludes its evaluation of current tests by reiterating the following:

  • The profession’s standards for educational testing say that information sufficient to evaluate the appropriateness and technical adequacy of tests should be made available to potential test users and other interested parties. The committee considers the lack of sufficient technical infor-



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