So what teacher tests does your state require?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by TeacherGroupie, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I notice that the CSET forum has changed: it's now a forum on Teacher Testing, which should better serve everyone who ISN'T in California. It would be grand to get people treating the forum as a study source.

    It occurs to me to wonder, though: what tests are teachers taking in the various states?

    Let me get the ball rolling with the state I know best:

    For basic skills, California requires CBEST, the California Basic Educational Skills Test. It tests reading comprehension, basic math, and essay writing with 100 multiple choice questions and two essay prompts; the whole thing can be taken in four hours, or it can be taken in sections. There's a Web site, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com.

    To demonstrate subject area knowledge, California requires the CSET, California Subject Examinations for Teachers. Testing time is five hours. The multiple subject exam for elementary school tests reading, language, literature, history, science, math, human development, PE, and arts in three subtests that can be taken one at a time. The single subject exams for middle and high school are in specific subject areas; there are between two and four subtests per area, and most subtests combine multiple choice and written response items. A test taker can take one or two subtests at a time and still have all five hours. There's a Web site, http://www.cset.nesinc.com.

    To demonstrate ability to teach reading in elementary school, California requires the RICA, or Reading Instruction Competency Assessment, which combines multiple choice, short answer, and extended answer responses some of which involve analyzing case studies. There's a Web site, http://www.rica.nesinc.com.

    There are also exams of ability to handle culturally or linguistically diverse classrooms; for monolinguals, that requirement is now satisfied within a credential program, but a new test, the CTEL, is being developed for bilingual teachers. There's a Web site for that as well: I don't KNOW that it's http://ctel.nesinc.com, but if it isn't, the NES people let me down.

    There's a US Constitution knowledge requirement that can be satisfied by coursework or by passing any of several relatively short tests.

    And there are probably one or two more-or-less-optional tests I've missed. (See, I'm not a guru yet, just a mere addict.)

    So what's it like in your state?
     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    In Massachusetts we have the MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure). As far as I know all of the tests are 100 mult choice and 2 essays.
    The requirements for elementary and early childhood are:
    1. Literacy and Communication: basically a reading comprehension and writing skills test. It can be taken in two sections (reading and writing).
    2. General Curriculum: covers Language Arts, history, geography, U.S. and Mass constitutions, math, science, and child development.
    3. Foundations of Reading: Covers knowledge of teaching reading.

    There are the subject matter tests for each individual subject that can be taken by people wanted to teach secondary ed or become a specialist in a particular area (reading, for example). There is also a test to become licensed in Special ed.

    We also have a U.S. constitution requirement for all students, not just education majors that is fulfilled by taking a specific test during a history/government course.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

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    Interesting, Beth2004. When does MTEL happen? - toward the end of the credentialing process or toward the beginning? (By state law CSET has to be passed by the time one student teaches, toward the end of the traditional credential program, but lots of programs are requiring it for entrance; RICA, in contrast, is later in the sequence.) And what do people tend to do or use to prepare?
     
  5. Beth2004

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    When the tests are taken depends on the college/university I think. At the school where I went, we needed to pass the Literacy and Communication test before taking our methods courses, pass the General Curriculum before student teaching and then pass the foundations of reading to be licensed, although they're thinking of making that a graduation requirement. I would assume that it would be similar at most schools, but mine was a little more strict about certain things since it is primarily a teaching college. I believe there are study booklets that can be purchased to prepare for the tests, but the literacy and communication test tests basic skills and the General curriculum test is so broad that it's very difficult to study for!
     
  6. hatima

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    NM Teacher Tests

    Teaching License Testing Requirements for an Initial License from URL=http://www.nmta.nesinc.com/NM7_requirements.asp

    Early Childhood (B–3)
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Early Childhood)

    Elementary Education (K–8)
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary)
    New Mexico Content Knowledge Assessment in Elementary Education

    Grades K–12 Teaching New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary OR Secondary)
    New Mexico Content Knowledge Assessment—at least one endorsement is required in Reading, Music, Visual Arts, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, French, German, or Spanish

    Secondary Education (7–12)
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Secondary)
    New Mexico Content Knowledge Assessment—at least one endorsement is required in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies

    Special Education (K–12)
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
    New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary OR Secondary)

    For elementary education the Basic Skills is 100 selected responce and 1 constructed responce question. 75 selected-response questions. New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency has 75 selected-response questions, 3 restricted-response assignments, and 1 extended-response assignment. Then Content Knowledge Assessments includes 100 selected responce questions. I'm taking that one in November. I get test anxiety, we have four hours to complete the test. I'm taking the NM TC in January or March. I took basic skills a while back, I can't remember much about it.

    http://www.teachnm.org/ New Mexico does three tiered licensure. I'm not clear on how this works so its a little scary. After graduating in may I will have three years to pass my dossier and reach level two. Once at level 2 I can stay their. At level two I should attain my masters. To reach level 3 I must get a Ph.D. It is so confusing not many teachers I've talked to understand this, UNM is no help. If any NM teachers understand this please email me :confused:
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

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    Holy cow! For your sake, hatima, I'm glad I asked: maybe someone can shed some light for you.

    One way to deal with test anxiety is to imagine really, really vividly during the test that you're TEACHING the material, either to a bright kid who was out sick the day that concept got taught or to a colleague who has to teach it and needs the vital five minutes' worth. Another, as you're studying and doing practice tests, is to make sure to reward your successes: the idea is to break or at least weaken the mental link between "test" and "bad thing".
     
  8. Beth2004

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    Mass. also has different licenses. When you first become licensed (BS-level) you receive your initial license. Then, within five years of becoming hired you need to obtain your Masters in order to receive your professional license...if you don't, you lose your initial.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

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    Sounds like California, with its preliminary and clear credentials (but no master's, yet). I'd guess a lot of states do that.

    So what do people generally use to (try to) study?
     
  10. Beth2004

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    I've seen people buy the...."What Your ____ Grader Should Know" books to try to study for the General Curriculum test. I personally studied U.S. history/constitution stuff using the books I kept from my college history courses because I knew that was the stuff that I was probably weakest in. I figured I would probably be fine with whatever Language Arts or Math they threw at me, I was a Psych. major so the child dev. was no problem, and Science is soo broad that I wouldn't even know where to begin to study. Soo, I figured, history, I could do! haha
     
  11. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    TeacherGroupie, :) :thanks: for the reply. I'll try your advise. I had to pay the late fee to register for the test. I can't imagine taking 8 hours of tests in one day. I'm hoping to get the Albuquerque testing location. When I took basic skills I tested at my high school which made my anxiety go down (how ironic that never happened for the SAT or ACT). I'm glad the test is all multiple choice that eases some anxiety. Thanks for the advise about the practice test. That would be a great idea. When I took basic skills I listened to one CD every time so I could picture the concepts in my mind while I took the test. UNM gives us a flyer about using the STAR method while taking the test. I've used it in psyc., math, and history. So I've practiced that (just haven't used it in a year). Your suggestion of "weaken the mental link between "test" and "bad thing"." reminded me I can to that to ignore the time issue. :thanks: again.
     
  12. WITeach

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    In Wisconsin we have to take the PPST (Praxis I - Pre-professional skills test) which is a reading, writing, and math test. We also have to take the Praxis II which tests you on your subject area (ex...elem. ed, secondary ed.) plus a separate test in your minor area, if you have one. From what I remember, a lot of the questions were not things we learned in college. It was a lot of stuff from elementary and middle school. It didn't ask any questions on HOW to teach, just questions on the content.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

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    States seem to differ on whether or not the teacher tests test teaching. Interesting... What do people use to review? Or what do they tell each other to use?
     
  14. WITeach

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    I had a Cliff Notes type book that I used for my PPST. I also got a practice test from some where??? Probably a college prof or something.

    I didn't have much information on the Praxis II before I took it. At the time I took it, we were a "sample" group of sorts for the test. We were required to take it, but we didn't actually get a score for it. I think they used our scores to decide what the required score should be.
     
  15. Beth2004

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    What are the required scores that everyone needs to get on these tests in order to pass?
     
  16. WITeach

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    I actually went on the website to find out what the required scores are and I found something interesting. You can take the PPST as a paper/pencil test or on a computer (which I knew). But....the amount of questions and time limits are different. Kind of weird. I took it the paper/pencil way...and I had to get a 175 on reading, 174 on writing, and 173 on math.

    There were 40 multiple choice questions for each section, plus an essay. It took four hours! :(
     
  17. Beth2004

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    Our tests are scored more "traditionally." We get (I believe) .5pt for each multiple choice (100 of them) and then each essay (2 of them) is worth 25pts. We need a score of 70 on each of the tests to pass.
     
  18. Danny'sNanny

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    Hatima, the way teachers and administrators in NM have explained it to me is that level 2 is your dossier, and you have to get to level 2 within five years of starting teaching (and they also said to definately take a course or workshop to help you put it together because its really hard) and then you can stay there, and when you have your masters and 10 years of experience then you're level 3. None of the level 3 teachers I know have a PhD or EdD.

    New Mexico has so many less tests than Idaho (one of my reasons that I'll pry transfer back). I wouldn't mind taking the tests, but they're so expensive and it really adds up. Especially if I was planning on teaching in NM anyway, I would have to take all of those tests eventually, and why pay for both?
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

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    So what has Idaho got, then, please?
     
  20. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Danny's Nanny thanks for the information on the dossier and level information. Yea, the tests are expensive. I just paid $139 for the Content Knowledge test. (I had the $39 late fee). It is crazy they charge so much for the tests. I heard there was a fee (of over $100) to file your dossier but not sure.
    I don't blame you for transferring with more tests to take. Tests are not my favorite form of assessment. I'm sure they can find a better way to assess what teachers know. After all, the philosophies pushed on us are that tests are not a good way to assess our students (at least at UNM's COE.)
     
  21. Danny'sNanny

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    I am not sure exactly what the tests are in Idaho, all I know is according to the website there's pretty much some every semester. I just got an email saying I had to take a literacy test this fall, but the degree plan on the website makes it look like I don't need it till the end of my junior year! And I cannot get ahold of an advisor to help me!
     
  22. lmb45

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    State Licensing

    I am currently student teaching in Ohio. My husband and I are both licensed here but we are moving to Massachusetts this summer. We just registered to take the tests in November to be licensed in Mass. I will be testing for Early Childhood and my husband will be testing for History. If anyone has any advice for these tests, I would greatly appreciate it! I am a little nervous because I do not know what to expect.
     
  23. Miss W

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    Arkansas does the PRAXIS series. Most colleges require the PRAXIS I (Also called the PPST-basic skills), before a student can enter the Education Department. Then PRAXIS II (2 tests-one all M.C., and the other 5 case studies) before doing internship. Once obtaining a degree, the canidate gets a non-renewable 3 year lisence. To get a renewable license, you have to do the PRAXIS III observation, and pass the PATHWISE training.
     
  24. Beth2004

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    What tests will you be taking? For Early Childhood there are 3.
     
  25. AChancetoTeach

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    In Texas, you have to take a minimum of two tests to be certified. They are called the TExES (Texas Examinations of Educator Standards) Exams. The first test is usually taken during the methods/block semester before you do your student teaching. It is your content/subject area type test (i.e. Generalist EC-4). The second test is the PPR or Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities for the same level (i.e. Generalist EC-4). This test is taken during your student teaching semester. Once you are certified by your university or ACP, you may challenge certain additional certification areas, such as special ed, etc. as long as you are willing to pay the fees. Of course, your school district may require that you actually have classes to back up that additional certification, but some do not. After my initial certification of EC-4, I took the Special Ed EC-12 and passed it. Of course it really costs you each time you take a test.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

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    I hear you, hatima. Trouble is, tests are how today's students ARE getting assessed, and that's not likely to change any time soon. So, though it sounds uncongenial and maybe even counterintuitive, you might want to look at teacher testing as an opportunity (backed by a sledgehammer, yes, but still...) to hone your test-taking chops and pick up some good tricks to pass on to your future students, in the hope that they'll be more comfortable with this process. Or at least somewhat less UNcomfortable.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

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    Not knowing what to expect is a pretty good reason to be nervous. Check out the official Web site, which I just learned today:

    http://www.mtel.nesinc.com

    and download free pdf documents on the tests you need from

    http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/MA_SG_opener.asp

    Good luck!
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

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    TExES, eh? I'm not sure test makers ought to be allowed to get that cute. Who's responsible for this thing, anyway? Praxis? NES? Some other outfit of standard deviation wranglers?
     
  29. Miss W

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    He, he, he. That's funny. I can't stop laughing. You're right. The test makers shouldn't be allowed to be that cute.
     
  30. AChancetoTeach

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    LOL, NES is responsible. And believe me, the name is the ONLY place they have a sense of humor!
     
  31. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    :) Your right TeacherGroupie. Teachers should try to make testing easier for themselves so they can take the nerve work out of testing for thier students. :thanks:
    In NM students take A2L (assess to learn) at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. It seems like March to May is nothing but tests. :eek:
    UNM gave us a S.T.A.R testing stratagies to prepare us for the test. I have used parts of it in courses and it seems to unbind some of the nerves.
    The TExES thing kinda helps with the nerves :rolleyes:
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

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    ANYTHING that helps reduce the nerves - well, short of cheating - is a good thing. Good test takers actually feel the same butterflies everyone else does (and sometimes more, oddly enough), but they know that if they settle in and get started, the butterfly feeling will die down, mostly or at least enough.
     
  33. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Thats how I am with tests usually I think I am going to do worse than I will do. I get antsy and panicky. Usually, I do fairly well. But when I'm over confident I bomb. :rolleyes: c'est la vie
    :eek: Cheating is bad, it never does any good--trust me. I didn't learn anything by doing that in French class in high school. Not that I had to use the cheat sheet. My teacher left all the information we needed on the board during those test. (the last three of my junior year). :eek:

    (no pun intended with c'est la vie and then my french confession)
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

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    NES, eh? That explains much... and you're right about the sense of humor.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

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    All right: since I launched this thread, I'm going to try to drag it back on track.

    So... we've heard about Massachusetts, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Texas, and my own California, blessed by sunshine and NES (hey, somebody pass the SPF 50!) But there was only a tantalizing hint about Idaho: can somebody tell us more? And what about all the other states?
     
  36. dee

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    Louisiana uses the PRAXIS series. You have to pass PRAXIS I (PPST), then content area (Elementary Ed is 0014) and PLT(Principles of Learning and Teaching).


    Yes, these test are very expensive and I truly do not understand how the PRAXIS tests are scored.
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

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    Are you wondering about raw scores vs. scaled scores, or about how written answers (if Praxis II 10014 Elementary Ed includes them) are scored, or what?
     
  38. Miss W

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    The way I understand it (how a PRAXIS advisor told me), the case studies are graded by three different people. This is the same for the PRAXIS III observation. If all three scorers differ on a score, then another person will grade it.
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

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    MSAT (which was a Praxis test) was scored by two scorers, with a third as tiebreaker if the two scorers differed by more than one point. That seems to be industry standard. I'd guess case studies could be worth as many as six points; usually the Tests at a Glance document for the test (http://www.ets.org/praxis/prxtest.html; the test number in blue is the link to that test's Tests at a Glance document) specify which questions are worth how many points and give some idea of the scoring rubric.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

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    I forgot to thank you, dee (blush). And I should've put "blessed" in scare quotes to indicate irony. Now what about New York state? Virginia? Colorado?
     
  41. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I'm panicking! I am taking the NM Content Knowledge test on Saturday. I'm really scared. I took the ten question practice test and missed three of the problems. (I figured that is a 70% way too low!) I need some words of encouragement.
     

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