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March 13, 2017

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UUP heard: Regents change teacher certification process


uupdate 3-13-17

CLICK HERE to read UUP's media release

In a hard-won victory for UUP, the New York State Board of Regents unanimously voted Monday to make significant changes to New York’s deeply flawed teacher certification exams, reversing years of obstinate insistence by many Regents that the tests were fine just the way they were.

The vote included the elimination of a controversial literacy test, the Academic Literacy Skills Test. Above, Regent Kathleen Cashin discusses the board's actions as State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia, right, listens.

Members vindicated

At the heart of Monday’s action was a feeling of vindication for the hundreds of faculty members in teacher preparation programs throughout New York who had been hearing some Regents and many State Education Department officials say for years that the problem was not with the exams, but with the programs and faculty teaching the students who were trying – often unsuccessfully - to pass them.

uupdate 3-13-17

“Our teacher education faculty, their students and many deans of SUNY teacher education programs should take heart that three years of effort, of speaking out and of working with a number of concerned Regents paid off today,” said Jamie Dangler, above, UUP statewide VP for academics. “We went from being told no changes would be made, to knowing that our members’ efforts made a historic difference to their profession.”

Task force is heard

Dangler was one of several members of UUP, NYSUT and the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, who served on a statewide task force charged with making recommendations on improvements to one of the exams, the educative Teacher Performance Assessment, or edTPA.

That task force actually recommended changes to the entire certification process. The decision to remove the ALST came after a number of Regents and the task force members pointed out that it was needlessly duplicative.

The Regents vote will put in place the following actions:

      • An emergency action to remove the ALST;
      • Setting up a process to review the EAS - and extending the EAS safety net until it is revised;
      • Establishing a Standards Setting panel to determine whether the edTPA passing score should be reset;
      • Establishing a Multiple Measures Review process for cases where there is evidence that a teacher candidate is ready to teach but did not pass the edTPA (with conditions for such candidate review);
      • Extending the edTPA safety net pending completion of Standards Setting Panel work and establishment of Multiple Measures Review process;
      • Establishing a process to review edTPA handbooks based on claims by education professionals, with two possible outcomes: handbook revision or approval of an alternative performance assessment if handbook revision is not feasible for the certification area under evaluation;
      • Annual release of information revealing the qualifications of edTPA scorers;
      • Establishing a clinical practice work group to review the length and requirements of student teaching; and
      • Increasing the voucher program for student certification exam costs (requires legislative allocation of funds).

New York had revised its teacher certification process nearly five years ago, making it one of the most controversial in the country. Students with glowing academic records could not pass the deeply flawed exams, and enrollment in teacher education programs began to plummet.

SED will hold a public comment period on the changes, some of which will be phased in over the next several months.


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