The American Board teacher exams, the first national alternative to traditional teacher certification, have hit the market. The first exams to be offered are for elementary teaching candidates who seek an alternative to the coursework in both subject matter and pedagogy required by states for certification. This new route, while controversial and even threatening to some, offers the hope of significantly expanding the pool of talented teachers. To date both Pennsylvania and Idaho have approved the American Board alternative route.
Elementary teachers must pass two tests to be certified: (1) Professional Teaching Knowledge, which measures the applicant's understanding of classroom management, student assessment, instructional strategies, communicating with parents, and curriculum planning; and (2) the subject matter exam, which measures broad subject matter knowledge needed for teaching elementary students.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, complete a background check and pay a $500 fee. Exams for middle and high school mathematics and English will be available this winter. The National Council on Teacher Quality is proud to be a co-founder, along with the Education Leaders Council, of this groundbreaking alternative.