Certification Board Proposes Higher Standards for Educator Preparation

On August 5 the State Board for Educator Certification took notable action to raise standards for educator preparation. SBEC members approved a rule proposal to create a new, tiered licensure model for teacher candidates employed as a paid teacher of record while completing their educator preparation program’s requirements. The proposal also calls for more support for would-be teachers in the classroom. Packaged together with these rules are tightened standards for gauging the performance of educator-preparation programs themselves. The whole package of regulatory changes will be posted formally for public comment and ultimately must be forwarded to the State Board of Education for review.

Candidates employed as a paid teacher of record could be employed only on an intern certificate if they have not demonstrated basic knowledge of pedagogy and professional responsibilities (e.g., classroom management, code of ethics) on the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) certification exam. The intern certificate would be granted to an individual who had passed appropriate content certification exams and would be valid for only one year. To obtain a probationary certificate, valid for a year and renewable for one additional year, the candidate would have to pass the appropriate content exams and the appropriate PPR exam.

New experience and training requirements would be established for mentors, cooperating teachers, site supervisors, and field supervisors. Field supervisors would be required to conduct five observations for candidates employed under an intern certificate and three for those on a probationary certificate.

Currently, all ed-prep program participants must complete 80 hours of coursework and/or training prior to assignment for clinical teaching or an internship. The new SBEC rule would raise that requirement to 150 hours. The new rule also would specify that 150 hours of targeted coursework and or/training must be completed by candidates to demonstrate their basic understanding of specific criteria for beginning teachers.

Ed-prep programs now rated on their participants’ last exam attempted would be rated instead on the first two attempts. Also included in ratings would be results on all exams approved by the ed-prep program required for the certification area in which the candidate participated in clinical teaching, an internship, or a practicum.

To ensure transparency and differentiation between content knowledge and how to teach students that knowledge, the PPR and non-PPR exams in the future would be calculated separately for accountability purposes in determining passing rates for ed-prep programs.