The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.
Massachusetts does not currently require new teachers to pass a pedagogy test in order to attain licensure.
Massachusetts is accelerating its participation in the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) by including all of the state's institutions of higher learning in the pilot program next year, with the expectation that it will allow or require the use of TPA in licensure as early as 2012.
Require that all new teachers pass a pedagogy test.
Massachusetts should verify that all new teachers meet professional standards through a test of professional standards.
Ensure that performance assessments provide a meaningful measure of new teachers' knowledge and skills.
While Massachusetts is commended for considering the use of a performance-based assessment, the state should proceed with caution until additional data are available on the Teacher Performance Assessment. Additional research is needed to determine how the TPA compares to other teacher tests as well as whether the test's scores are predictive of student achievement. The track record on similar assessments is mixed at best. The two states that currently require the Praxis III performance-based assessment report pass rates of about 99 percent. Given that it takes significant resources to administer a performance-based assessment, a test that nearly every teacher passes is of questionable value.
Massachusetts asserted that it requires all teachers in training to complete a Preservice Performance Assessment, administered by the preparing institution under guidelines established by the state. Massachusetts added that it is participating in the TPA pilot at five state institutions and is holding off a decision on broader-scale piloting until it can analyze the results of the trial. The state is very interested in developing performance-based approaches to licensure and is also developing performance-based assessments for prospective principal and superintendent licenses.