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Testing Teacher Candidates: The Role of Licensure Tests in Improving Teacher Quality
A number of studies have been conducted to collect construct-related evidence of validity. These studies have examined the relationships between teachers’ performance on the portfolio and (1) other quantitative measures, such as their grade point averages, SAT scores, and Praxis I and II scores; (2) case studies of teachers’ performance in the classroom; and (3) student achievement test results in English/language arts, reading, and mathematics.
Additional studies have examined the consequences associated with program implementation. Program effectiveness is evaluated through surveys of mentors, portfolio assessors, school administrators, principals, central office personnel, beginning teachers, and higher-education faculty. In addition, portfolio scorers evaluate their own teaching skills before and after participating in scorer training activities. This information is used qualitatively to judge the impact of scorer training on actual classroom teaching practices.
OHIO’S TEACHER INDUCTION PROGRAM
Ohio provides an example of a state that plans to incorporate a commercially available program into its licensing system. Ohio is in the process of redesigning its licensing system. The new system, which will be implemented in 2002, includes a comprehensive induction program for beginning teachers, requirements for performance assessment during the induction year administered by the Ohio Department of Education, and procedures to ensure continued professional development for experienced teachers. The new system will eliminate procedures through which teachers were awarded permanent “lifetime” licenses and instead will implement a two-stage system. During the first stage, individuals who complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass required tests (Praxis II, Principles of Teaching and Learning, and the appropriate Praxis II subject matter examination) receive a provisional license. The provisional license is good for two years, is renewable, and entitles individuals to work as full-time or substitute teachers. Teachers who successfully complete Ohio’s new Entry Year Program and pass a performance assessment (Praxis III) will receive a professional license (the second stage). The professional license is good for five years, and renewal requires completion of an approved professional development plan and a master’s degree or the equivalent after 10 years of teaching.
The Entry Year Program
The new system will require beginning teachers to participate in the Entry Year Program, an induction program designed to provide mentorship, support, and additional learning experiences for new teachers. Ohio has spent the past seven years piloting the Praxis III Classroom Performance Assessment for be-