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Testing Teacher Candidates: The Role of Licensure Tests in Improving Teacher Quality
Comment: The two broad topics and the more detailed descriptions seem reasonable, but a content specialist could judge more appropriately the quality and completeness of the content coverage.
How were the KSAs derived and by whom? The “skills content domain”1 was determined by using a job analysis procedure that began in 1988. The job analysis consisted of two phases.
Phase One entailed developing an initial content description (a set of enabling skills appropriate for entry-level teachers). This phase included having ETS test development staff produce an initial set of 119 enabling skills across five dimensions (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Listening, and Speaking). The staff reviewed the literature, including skills required by various states, drawing on the test development staff’s own teaching experience. These 119 initial enabling skills were then reviewed by an external review panel of 21 practicing professionals (working teachers, principals, deans/associate deans of education, state directors of teacher education and certification, and state representatives of the National Parent-Teacher Association) who were nominated by appropriate national organizations. After the External Review Panel reviewed and modified the initial list of enabling skills, the resulting skills were reviewed by a 12-member National Advisory Committee (also nominated from appropriate national organizations). This committee made additional adjustments to the skills and added a sixth dimension to the domain: Interactive Communication Skills. At the end of Phase One there were 134 enabling skills, with 26 in Reading.
The second phase of the job analysis consisted of a pilot survey and a large verification survey. The pilot survey was undertaken to obtain information about the clarity of the instructions and the appropriateness of the content of the survey instrument. It was administered to six teachers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The verification survey included responses from almost 2,800 individuals from constituent groups and practicing teachers. The constituent group’s sample included 630 individuals from either state agencies or national professional organizations other than teachers (289 responded; 46 percent response rate). The main teacher sample consisted of 6,120 elementary, middle, and secondary teachers (about 120 teachers from each state, including Washington, D.C.). Of these, 2,269 teachers responded (37 percent response rate.) A supplemental sample of 1,500 African American and Hispanic elementary, middle, and secondary teachers who were members of the National Education Association were selected to ensure adequate minority representation. There were 236 usable responses (16 percent) from this latter group. All those surveyed were asked to
This domain includes all dimensions of PPST: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Listening, Speaking, and Interactive Communication Skills. The focus of this report is on the Reading dimension.