The Board of Teaching took actions on Nov. 9 to address the issues raised by implementation of the Minnesota Teacher Licensing Examination (MTLE) and identified some areas where it will seek legislative changes to the current statute.
The actions were taken in response to concerns expressed at the Standards and Rules committee meeting of October. All of the actions include:
1. To pursue legislation that would:
- Authorize the Board of Teaching to establish an alternative (state-approved coursework) for measuring the Basic Skills competencies for candidates who are not successful in demonstrating competence in the testing environment
- Authorize the Board of Teaching to allow licensed teachers from other states who otherwise meet Minnesota licensure requirements to be issued a one-year license prior to meeting the Basic Skills testing requirements
- Provide up to 3 years for non-native English speakers to meet the Basic Skills testing requirements
All of these are of course based on the premise that a sympathetic legislator can be found to carry forward the legislation. Then it must work its way through the process.
2. To establish cycles for ongoing review of the testing program and targeted review of specific subtests. This will be based on pass rate results (very low or very high), test statistics, and changes in teacher licensure requirements or other policy changes. Review is considered best practice in all cases.
3. In accordance with the criteria set forth above, to reconvene standard-setting panels for the following subtests:
- Middle Level Mathematics, Subtests 1-2
- French, Subtests 1-2
- German, Subtests 1-2
- Spanish, Subtests 1-2
- Earth and Space Science, Subtests 1-2
- Physics, Subtests 1-2
These actions are based on the premise that the scores of these tests are low and that they are keeping otherwise qualified teachers from obtaining jobs in areas where there are identifiable shortages in schools throughout Minnesota.
4. Monitor the impact of additional time provided for Middle Level Mathematics Subtests 1 and 2, Physics Subtests 1 and 2, and Basic Skills Writing; review data from timing analysis to determine whether additional time should be added for other fields.
The concept of timed tests as gate keepers is being challenged quite vociferously by teacher preparation institutions
5. Identify ways to provide additional feedback to candidates, licensure programs, and school districts to better understand candidate performance and provide remediation.
The representative from MACTE made a comment at the BOT meeting that indicated that if we, as educators, would make decisions about students on assessments without informing them of what specifically they need to do to improve, we would be considered negligent.
6. Provide targeted information to candidates, licensure programs, and school districts regarding:
- Preparation materials available, including test frameworks, formulas/constants pages, constructed response directions/performance characteristics/scoring scales, and fee-based materials.
- Performance data using the subareas and test objectives to better understand statewide candidate performance trends. http://www.mtle.nesinc.com/PageView.aspx?f=GEN_MatchStudies.html
- Reports and data available in ResultsAnalyzer
This seems to fall within the category of best practices for assisting teacher candidates.