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Testing Teacher Candidates: The Role of Licensure Tests in Improving Teacher Quality
include one Praxis I test;
include both content and pedagogical knowledge Praxis II tests;
include tests that have both multiple-choice and open-ended formats;
cover the full range of teacher grade levels (e.g., K-6, 5–9, 7–12);
include, if possible, language arts/English, mathematics, science, and social studies content tests;
include tests that are in wide use; and
consider shelf life, that is, not include tests that are near “retirement.”
The final set of tests was chosen by the committee through discussions with ETS and the Buros Center for Testing. From the Praxis I set of assessments, the Pre-Professional Skills Test: Reading (paper-and-pencil administration) was selected for review. From Praxis II the committee selected four tests for review: the Principles of Learning and Teaching (K-6); Middle School English/Language Arts; Mathematics: Proofs, Models, and Problems, Part 1; and Biology: Content Knowledge Test, Parts 1 and 2.
Selecting NES Tests
To obtain material on NES-developed tests, the committee contacted NES and the relevant state education agencies in the states listed as using NES tests in the 2000 NASDTEC Manual.1 Efforts to obtain sufficient technical information for the committee to evaluate the tests similar to what the committee received from ETS were unsuccessful for NES tests. As a result, NES-developed tests are not included in the committee’s review and the committee can make no statements about their soundness or technical quality.
The committee’s inability to comment on NES-developed tests is significant. First, NES-developed tests are administered to very large numbers of teacher candidates (R.Allen, NES, personal communication, July 26, 1999). Second, the disclosure guidelines in the joint Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing specify that “test documents (e.g., test materials, technical manuals, users guides, and supplemental materials) should be made available to prospective test users and other qualified persons at the time a test is published or released for use” (American Educational Research Association et al., 1999:68). Consistent with the 1999 standards, and as it did with ETS, the committee requested information sufficient to evaluate the appropriateness and technical adequacy of NES-developed tests. In response to the committee’s request, an NES
New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Michigan, California, Illinois, Texas, and Colorado were listed as NES states in the 2000 NASDTEC Manual. Oregon uses ETS and NES tests. Oklahoma’s test development program was in transition when the committee’s study began.