2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.
Virginia does not currently require new teachers to pass a test of pedagogy in order to attain licensure.
The Virginia Reading Assessment covers an essential component of pedagogy and is required for elementary education, most special education areas and the reading specialist endorsement. However, this assessment neither covers all instructional areas nor is required of all teachers.
Virginia 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.
Virginia 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 Virginia 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.
Virginia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.