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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

MTEL General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest Requirement for Elementary and Special Education Teachers: Final Action on Amendment to Educator Licensure Regulations (603 CMR 7.14(g)) for Transition Period

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:August 4, 2009

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Overview

In May 2009, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted an emergency amendment to the Educator Licensure Regulations to establish a reasonable transition period for implementing the qualifying score for the Mathematics subtest of the General Curriculum test for licensing elementary and special education teachers. The Board adopted the amendment as an emergency regulation in order for it to become effective immediately, so that candidates who took the Mathematics subtest in March 2009 could be notified of their results as soon as possible. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, emergency regulations are effective for three months, during which time the agency solicits and reviews public comment. The Department has done so, and no further changes to the regulation are warranted as a result of the public comment. I recommend that the Board vote on final adoption of the regulation at the August 2009 meeting.

The regulation that the Board adopted on an emergency basis reads as follows:

Section 603 CMR 7.14(g):
Between March 7, 2009 and June 30, 2012, candidates for the following preliminary or initial licenses who earn a scaled score of at least 227-239 on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test: Elementary, Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and Teacher of the Visually Impaired, will be deemed to have passed the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test. All candidates who are licensed under this provision must earn a scaled score of 240 or above on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test in order to be eligible for the next stage of licensure or to renew their initial license.

The regulation establishes a transition phase for implementing the Mathematics subtest portion of the General Curriculum test for educator licensure. For a limited period (until June 30, 2012), candidates who earn a score of at least 227-239 will be deemed to have passed the subtest for the purpose of their first stage of licensure. These teachers, however, will have to retake the Mathematics subtest and earn a score of 240 or above in order to be eligible for the next stage of licensure or to renew their initial license. As of July 1, 2012, all candidates for the listed licenses will have to earn a score of 240 or above on the Mathematics subtest.

Public Comment

The May 21, 2009 memo describing the action that the Board had taken and a notice inviting public comment via an online solicitation designed for that purpose are attached. The memo is also available online at MTEL General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest: Amendment to Educator Licensure Regulations for Transition Period; the notice is available online at Notice of Public Comment - 603 CMR 7.00, Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval Regulations. A deadline for the receipt of comments was set for July 10, 2009.

Only one comment was received from a teacher with the Acton Public Schools.
She provided feedback about the General Curriculum Mathematics subtest, raising concerns about its validity, reliability, and appropriateness, in addition to opposing the use of standardized tests for teacher licensure in general. The commenter also suggested that the new requirement would have a significant impact on teacher supply and demand, particularly in special education. The feedback in our view did not provide a sufficient rationale to further amend the regulation.

Additional Background Information

The memo that I presented to the Board in May 2009 included background information on our regulations that strengthen the preparation and licensing of elementary and special education teachers to teach mathematics. It also provided information about test development and the setting of qualifying scores, and included sample items from the General Curriculum Mathematics subtest as well as a list of the members of the MTEL General Curriculum/mathematics subtest committee.

Recommendation

Based on our implementation of the regulation, 603 CMR 7.14(g) during the past three months, and our review of the public comment we received since May, I recommend that the Board take a final vote to adopt the regulation with no additional changes. A motion is enclosed.



Last Updated: August 6, 2009
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