The state Board of Regents approved a number of changes to the state’s teacher certification process Tuesday, as educators and advocates statewide debate how to get more people into the teaching field while still ensuring candidates are well-trained and effective at the craft.
“New York is facing a shortage of qualified teachers in specific subject areas and in many parts of the state,” said state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Today’s action strikes the right balance by providing fairness to those seeking to become teachers, while maintaining some of the most rigorous certification requirements in the country.”
Among the changes approved is a lower pass score for the edTPA, an exam developed by Stanford University faculty and staff that measures a candidate’s planning, instruction and testing abilities in a specific content area, like biology or social studies. In addition to written work, candidates must submit a portfolio of their work that includes video of their student teaching.
Adopted in 2014 with a pass score of 41, the Regents agreed Tuesday to lower the pass score to 40 but to phase it in over four years — starting with a cut score of 38 in 2018, increasing to a score of 39 in 2020, and eventually hitting 40 in 2022.
The Regents also extended a safety net option for candidates who don’t pass the edTPA, allowing them until June 30 to take a different exam in its place. That exam, the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W), will be discontinued on July 1.
There’s another option for hopeful teachers who don’t pass the edTPA.
Acting on a recommendation from a state Education Department-convened task force, the Regents in June agreed to establish a review process for candidates who fail the exam but show “compelling evidence” that they’re ready to teach.