Test Retake Doesn’t Jive With Standards

It should be encouraging to state residents that 83 percent of the 1,600 teachers who took the so-called “bar exam for teachers” passed the test.

We wonder, however, about the 17 percent of new teachers unable to pass the test who will still be able to teach after the state Board of Regents approved a safety net that will allow teachers who couldn’t pass the edTPA exam to receive their teaching certificates. The Board of Regents is allowing those 272 teachers who didn’t pass the test to use a passing score on a separate written test as proof they are ready to teach.

It is understandable that the Board of Regents took compassion on would-be teachers who spent years in college not knowing the edTPA exam would be waiting for them at the end of their college careers. Under this proposal, the roughly 272 teachers who didn’t pass the edTPA will be able to teach much like a lawyer admitted to practice law through a secondary path – calling into question their ability to handle their chosen profession.

A more preferable safety net for those 272 teachers would have been allowing them to retake the edTPA exam as many times as necessary until they pass, similar to the way the American Bar Association handles lawyers who can’t pass the bar exam, or even a separate exam designed and written by the state. The Board of Regents’ compromise doesn’t seem to jive with the board’s stated notion of qualified teachers in every classroom.

It is too late to rethink this plan for 2014. The Board of Regents shouldn’t even consider such a plan in 2015.