My Angry CSET Rant

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by trekker34, Feb 24, 2022.

  1. trekker34

    trekker34 New Member

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    Feb 24, 2022

    Does anyone ever think the CTC will do away with the testing requirements or at least limit the amount of tests teacher candidates will have to endure? Any aspiring teacher will say that these tests can be extremely rigorous and a huge barrier, both financially and mentally, to overcome. I have spoken to many teacher friends who have been teachers for years. Not only were these tests not required for them (because they didn't exist), but all have said they do nothing to gauge a person's teaching ability. Some have even suggested that the CTC "invented" these exams as a way to raise funds for themselves. In other words, a money making scam. It's hard not to agree with those sentiments, considering the Commission allows teaching candidates to take (pay for) the exams as many times until they are successfully passed. These exams are extreme burdens and I am genuinely curious if anyone thinks they will be done away with entirely or severely relaxed? Seriously?! 3 exams?! Come on!!! Though I am not currently a teacher, I do work at a school. The amount of flexibility and options that students have, especially those with IEPs and 504 plans, show that accommodations can be and are often made. Students who need them are allowed several modifications in order to be successful in school. Why not offer the same for teacher candidates? The parallels are certainly there. :mad::mad::mad:
     
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  3. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Feb 25, 2022

    CSETs are interesting things that can bring so much in education into focus. The primary rational for having them is to show subject matter knowledge. Actually, can anybody really argue against the necessity there? If you are unable to pass the subject matter test, how can you justify teaching that content? I passed the three Math tests, have the degree, and have thus shown some competence in the subject. Now, I did have to take one of those tests twice, because I failed first time around. Hmmm. How does that reflect on me? How does that reflect on my University? It's a bit humbling, isn't it? And how might that inform how we educate? Specifically, I see a good deal of shade being thrown about students expecting accommodation, like asking if they can retake a test. Knowing that teachers are allowed to take, retake, and take those CERTs (and CBESTs, CTELs) as many times as it takes, and knowing that so many teachers have had to do exactly that, how can teachers and others be so hard-nosed about students asking for the same accommodations?
     
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  4. trekker34

    trekker34 New Member

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    Feb 25, 2022

    I appreciate the reply, CaliforniaRPCV.

    A coworker of mine just started her student teaching. We are going through different credentialing programs but she told me that she was able to take a handful of classes through a local state school as an alternative to the CBEST. I went ahead and emailed my credentialing program to see if that was an option for me. Personally, I'd rather take a couple of classes and actually learn something about what I'd like to teach, rather than stress and try to pass three exams, while probably learning very little. One of the teachers at my school told me that, at least for her, the exams were nothing more than a hurdle the commission makes candidates go through and once she passed the exams, everything she studied for has had absolutely no baring on her being a teacher. Nothing in the exam mattered and she felt it was a total waste of time. My mom was a teacher for years and I understand the desire to prove you are competent in the matter you want to teach, however, like most everything, the best experience is learning on the job. My mom was asked to teach several courses on different subjects that she had no prior knowledge of. She had to figure it out and was able to make it work. So I really don't buy that argument of needing to pass these exams in order to show your competency. What's more, the exams didn't even exist till a few years ago. Most of the teachers at my school didn't need to pass them because the tests didn't exist when they started teaching. Are they bad teachers because of it? Not in the slightest. Which is why I tend to lean more towards the thought of them being nothing more than a money making scheme. They have to justify the tests somehow and wrapping them in, "we need to ensure subject matter competency" is what they did. It's all very shady, if you ask me.
     
  5. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Feb 25, 2022

    Teacher credentialing is a strange thing. I'm not really sure how much respect I have for it. Every locality has a different set of standards, which tells me there aren't really many truly valid standards if you are trying to draw a correspondence between those standards and the ability to do the job and the quality with which it is done. It's all just seems very random, very much a matter of opinion and not much scientific justification behind it.

    I started out as a teacher in the Peace Corps in the late '70s. Upon returning, I left teaching behind because it would have taken me another two years and a bunch of money to get certified. At least that is what I thought at the time. I'm not sure that was true. I wasn't very good at research; no google, no web sites. In any case, it turned out there were alternatives to making a living.

    Years go by and the writing on the wall is that the company I worked in for a few decades was going to ditch my business sector and I would be laid off. So I looked up what it would take to get certified for teaching. Turns out that because of the Peace Corps experience all those years ago, it would take a bunch of tests and a couple on-line classes. Pretty sure none of that was available in the late '70s. But, for me, CSETs, CTELs, CBEST, those couple classes, were a very cheap and time-efficient path. And the test method is well in line with the industry I was in so long, IT. I've spent a good bit of time and money over decades studying for, taking, failing, and retaking tests. And a couple of those certs require PD and fees to maintain. Point being, none of this is specific to the teaching profession. Pretty sure standardized testing is also a component of becoming a pilot, doctor or nurse. Undoubtedly, some of that is for the financial gain of the test givers. In IT, it absolutely is. But, meh... nothing unusual here.

    And I still find it amazing that teachers, who are so willing to test students, so unforgiving when they fail tests, and so adverse to allowing students to retake tests when they fail, object to taking tests themselves and, I'm certain, would object if they could not retake a failed test. Imagine not being able to be a teacher because you failed subtest 1 of CSET whatever; done, you are out. Or maybe we will let you retake that test after you go and take the year over again.

    I think we can take a lesson from that testing industry that allows so much latitude in test retakes. We shouldn't be saying, "OK, you failed that one. Let's move on to the next topic and see if you can do better". This is especially problematic when the next topic depends on the previous. (Math...). Better to stop, assess the problem, master the topic, then move on. What do we do? You failed the test, idiot, time to go and fail some more so we can complain about how big an idiot you are after a few years of that.

    End of my teaching story... I was an early reader of the writing on the wall. It took more than ten years to become reality. The teaching credential, layoff, covid-19, and retirement all arrived at the same time. Never got back into the classroom. It's fine.
     
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  6. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Feb 25, 2022

    I seem to remember that Cal State school curricula are more in line with the teacher credential standards. Well, so was/is/might have been the theory? I seem to remember that, at one point, I was going to have to take the CSETs because I went to a UC rather than a Cal State. From a historical point of view, the Cal State system started out as teacher prep schools?
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Feb 25, 2022

    What a heartfelt essay filled with logical fallacy and anecdotal opinion.
    I do not think the tests will go anywhere anytime soon. I also think content knowledge tests are very important, although not the only skill that is necessary to be a good teacher.

    Logical fallacy arguments only get you so far. There are many aspects of teaching. Just because the tests do not test the ability to teach does not mean they are not valuable.

    Do you disagree in continuing to work at acquiring knowledge until you can understand and demonstrate you know the information? I would think the bigger concern is why are aspiring teachers so unaware they are so lacking in knowledge before this point, and how did they manage to get so far through college without mastering the basics. I also agree that there should be a cut off to the number of tries in a set time.

    Actually in college, if you have a disability, you can get accommodations. Even for the teacher testing, if you have disabilities you can get accommodations for the testing. What you can't get as an aspiring professional is overlooking knowledge.
    Accommodations are different from modifications. I hate to say it but a lot of what you see in schools for students with IEPs and 504 are instructional practices that are actually modifying the curriculum and often lumping in the lower performing general education students as well.

    Exactly what accommodations are you looking for that you can't get on the teacher credentialing tests when you have a documented disability?

    Are the parallels really there in the way you are trying to imply? When taking these tests, you are not really considered a student anymore, you are a professional demonstrating your knowledge. Luckily, you get more than one chance to pass the test. Other than the fact that both are "school related" and students and people taking the credentialing exams are people, I don't see the parallel you are trying to create. Does your passing any of your college classes require you to pass these exams?

    That very much depends on what it is and how much damage to others you end up causing while you are "learning on the job", doesn't it?

    Anecdotal logical fallacy. I will assume she is top-notch and was able to successfully teach the content. But just because she could doesn't mean everyone who is a teacher can.

    Good news! You should have no trouble passing the tests with flying colors on the first try!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2022
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