2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.
Missouri only requires all new elementary teachers to pass a popular content test from the Praxis series that combines both subject-matter knowledge and pedagogy in order to attain licensure. Middle and secondary teachers are only required to pass pedagogy tests in areas where subject tests are not available.
Missouri is 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.
Missouri should verify that all new teachers meet professional standards through a test of professional knowledge.
Verify that commercially available tests of pedagogy actually align with state standards.
Missouri should ensure that its selected tests of professional knowledge measure the knowledge and skills the state expects new teachers to have.
Ensure that performance assessments provide a meaningful measure of new teachers' knowledge and skills.
While Missouri 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.
Missouri recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state also pointed out that new standards for educator preparation are being developed, and that NCTQ's recommendations will be considered when discussing the revision of standards relating to field/clinical experiences as well as the revision of certification requirements.