2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.
Tennessee requires all new teachers to pass a popular pedagogy test from the Praxis series in order to attain licensure.
Tennessee is also accelerating its participation in the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) consortium 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.
Verify that commercially available tests of pedagogy actually align with state standards.
Tennessee should ensure that its selected test of professional knowledge measures 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 Tennessee 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.
Tennessee recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.