NY Delays Tougher Standards For Teachers

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Efforts to raise expectations for New York’s teachers have stalled. In 2014, the state rolled out four new, tougher teacher certification tests. But last week the state delayed the requirement.

The Board of Regents cited low pass rates on the new tests as reason for the delay. They created a “safety net.” Until next June, teachers who fail to pass the new exams can get certified in other ways. The state wants to give would-be teachers more time to adjust.

But SUNY Cortland School of Education dean Andrea LaChance doesn’t want to adjust.

“I feel the problem is with the tests themselves,” she says. She points to the reading and writing test. It’s computer-based, like three of the four new tests. “First of all, is it a good idea to test reading through multiple choice tests only?”

LaChance says the computerized exams might just measure a teacher’s test-taking skills. She’s more confident about the fourth new exam, which grades a teacher’s performance in videotaped lessons.

LaChance says at this point, would-be teachers may well be frustrated.

“We have students who’ve taken this test three and four times,” she says. She adds that those students have paid a fair amount of money chasing a moving target.

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