Assessing Professional Knowledge : Alabama

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Assessing Professional Knowledge : Alabama results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Alabama's policies

Alabama does not currently require new teachers to pass a test of pedagogy in order to attain licensure.


Recommendations for Alabama

Require that all new teachers pass a pedagogy test.
Alabama should require that all new teachers meet professional standards through a test of professional knowledge.

State response to our analysis

Alabama recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is beginning to modify and enhance its testing requirements. The first group of new tests included reading and special education. The next group to be validated will include a test that requires prospective elementary teachers to earn a passing score in each of four academic disciplines: English language arts, mathematics, science and social science. Alabama pointed out that included in this second group will be tests of pedagogical knowledge, which will subsequently be required of all applicants for initial certification at the elementary and secondary levels. 

Research rationale

For evidence of the importance of pedagogy tests in improving student achievement, see C. Clotfelter, H.Ladd and J.Vigdor, "How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?"  Working Paper 2, Calder Institute (2007).

For further information regarding the use of performance assessments and the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC) in California and other states see L. Darling-Hammond, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: How Teacher Performance Assessments Can Measure and Improve Teaching" Center for American Progress (2010). 

For a perspectives on the issues with teaching dispositions, see W. Damon, "Personality Test: The dispositional dispute in teacher preparation today and what to do about it" in Arresting Insights in Education Vol.2 No. 3 (2005);  J. Gershman, "'Disposition' Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College," New York Sun, May 2005.

For evidence on the low passing scores required by states on pedagogy tests, see the U.S. Department of Education's Secretary's Seventh Annual Report on Teacher Quality (2010). Also see K. Walsh "A Candidate-Centered Model for Teacher Preparation and Licensure" in A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom (Hess, Rotherham and Walsh, eds.) (2004)