Assessing Professional Knowledge : District
of Columbia

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Assessing Professional Knowledge : District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DC-Assessing-Professional-Knowledge--6

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

As of September 2011, the District of Columbia requires all new teachers to pass a pedagogy test from the Praxis series in order to attain licensure.

Citation

Recommendations for District of Columbia

Verify that commercially available tests of pedagogy actually align with the District's standards.
The District of Columbia should ensure that its selected tests of professional knowledge measure the knowledge and skills the District expects new teachers to have.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

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)