Student teachers who fail a new, much-debated certification exam will still receive their teaching certificate under a temporary plan approved by New York’s education policymakers Tuesday.
The state Board of Regents unanimously voted Tuesday to allow teaching hopefuls who fail New York’s new teacher performance assessment — known as the edTPA — to receive their initial certification, as long as they pass a separate written examination. The eased requirements would only be in effect for those who take the exam before the end of June 2015.
The edTPA is being used statewide for the first time this May. Unions representing teachers and State University of New York faculty, as well as a number of colleges with teaching programs, had raised concerns about the exam and how it was being implemented.
Prominent state lawmakers and unions, including New York State United Teachers, had been pushing a bill to delay implementation of the exam, though the Regents’ action may put an end to that push.
“This agreement is good news for students in teacher education programs who aspire to work in New York classrooms,” NYSUT President Karen Magee, the former head of the Harrison teachers union, said in a statement. “It provides a safety net that allows student-teachers to use the traditional ATS-W (written) test to earn the initial certificate they need to enter the classroom and begin their teaching careers.”
The edTPA exam is being introduced in New York as part of the federal Race to the Top education grant program. The multi-part test requires student teachers to take video of themselves teaching a series of lessons, in addition to a lengthy written portion.
(File photo by Joe Brier/USA Today)