The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.
Maryland requires all new secondary and early childhood education teachers to pass a popular pedagogy test from the Praxis series in order to attain licensure.
Maryland is also part of the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) Consortium and began a pilot program in Spring 2011.
Require that all new teachers pass a pedagogy test.
Maryland should verify that all new teachers meet professional standards through a test of professional standards for elementary teachers in addition to early childhood education and secondary teachers.
Ensure that performance assessments provide a meaningful measure of new teachers' knowledge and skills.
While Maryland 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.
Maryland asserted that teacher candidates are required to demonstrate pedagogical knowledge through assessments that are validated prior to adoption. Assessments are identified for consideration and adopted only after expert review by a validation panel comprised of individuals from local school systems and higher education knowledgeable in the area being considered. These panels evaluate the alignment of the proposed assessment with the state's standards.
Maryland pointed out that not every certification area has a content-specific pedagogy assessment. When the state began adopting Praxis tests in 1998, ETS did not have a pedagogy test for each content area. Only recently has ETS introduced a "generic" pedagogy test: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT). Maryland uses PLT: Early Childhood (adopted February 2007) and the PLT 7-12 for some areas. The ETS elementary and middle PLT do not match Maryland's grade bands. The state noted that it requires early childhood, elementary and secondary teacher candidates to present qualifying scores on the appropriate state-validated national test of pedagogy.
Maryland added that it understands the need to be cautious in endorsing any performance assessment program until data are conclusive. TPA is being piloted in several states with data maintained and analyzed from these pilots. NCATE is accepting the TPA as one assessment in its Standard 2 assessment system requirement. Maryland is a state that requires NCATE accreditation but also accepts TPA as a valid instrument.