Education majors face new requirements for teaching

by Noel TreibelStaff Writer

Education majors will be facing a change in their graduation requirements, as Simpson plans to implement a new required standardized test. This test will just be a review for education majors before they enter into the world of teaching.

“The test is called the Praxis II, it is put out by Educational Testing Services,” said Steve Rose, professor of education and coordinator of the Masters of Arts in Teaching and Secondary Education.

This Praxis II test will test over several areas of education that future teachers will end up teaching in a classroom.

“It measures knowledge and core content that elementary education teachers teach like math, science, social studies and language arts,” Rose said.

According to The Praxis Series Web site, the test will measure knowledge and implementation skills in certain subjects that K-12 teachers will instruct in schools.

Students who wish to receive their teaching license and certification need to take this test if it is required by the state they wish to teach in. Some organizations may require these tests be taken in order to teach under their organizations or companies.

Iowa requires future teachers to take a content test and then they will be considered highly qualified for teaching. The Web site contains several links to other state requirements for the test and each state differs slightly.

“Most states require that teachers pass a standardized test, verifying their knowledge about the content they will be endorsed to teach, in order to obtain a teaching license in that state,” said Carole Richardson, assistant professor of education and chair of the Education Department. “The state of Iowa has not required such a test in the past — instead they have relied on a rigorous performance-based assessment system implemented through the state’s approved college/university teacher education program.”

For December 2006 graduates, it is a requirement to take one of the content tests, but there is no qualifying score to reach or maintain.

“In January of 2007, the State Department of Education will announce a passing ‘cut-score’ for the tests,” Richardson said. “Students who graduate after December of 2006 must obtain the passing score or higher in order to obtain a elementary classroom teaching license in Iowa.”

Additionally, those graduating in the spring of 2006 are required to take one of the content tests as well, but there is a qualifying score in which they must reach in order to pass.

“We don’t administer the Praxis test here on campus,” said Todd Little, director of the Hawley Academic Resource Center and assistant professor of education.

There is a Web site for the Praxis test which allows students to register for the test. This site also gives detailed information about the Praxis tests in general.

“They can search online for the closest test center. They can register there and pay online,” Little said.

The Web site that holds information on the Praxis test (http://www.ets.org) will help students prepare for the test.

“Each test lasts two hours,” Richardson said. “It costs $115 to take the test, $40 for registration and $75 for the test.”