|For Immediate Release|
|Monday, August 17, 1998|
|Contact:||Jan O'Keefe Feldman|
July Teacher Candidate Test Results by Higher Education Institution Are Released
Malden - State Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll today released the results of the July 11 Massachusetts tests for prospective teachers showing pass rates by the institution they attended.
Approximately 2,500 candidates for teacher certification who took July tests in communication and literacy and in subject matter areas submitted information on their registration forms about the 55 colleges and universities they attended. That data was then verified by the institutions; 54 checked the data and made corrections where necessary.
The July institutional test data provides information about test-takers in three ways: all who took the tests in July; those who took tests for the first time in July; and those who took any or all portions of the tests for the second time. The qualifying scores used to determine the pass rates for the July results are exactly the same as those used for the April test, and the tests are equal in level of difficulty. The entire thirty-three page institutional score report is available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/results.html.
"We now have two sets of test results. This test is a required minimum for entry into the public schools, and I urge prospective teachers and administrators to understand that this test needs to be taken seriously."
"I give credit to our test company, National Evaluation Systems, for again working closely with Alan Safran, the Department's Chief of Staff, for generating these latest results in a timely fashion."
By the end of the month, three additional reports will be available. One will provide information on the educational level of the candidates and their pass rates. A second will serve as the first annual testing program report, which will summarize the April and July results by institution. The third report will provide higher education institutions with detailed information on individual candidate's performance on the sub-areas of each of their tests for April and July. Institutions can use the information to diagnose specific areas of candidate strength and weakness to better assist students to meet certification standards. The information also can be used to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in a candidate's preparation.
Individual results of the July test were released last week, and showed that while the April and July tests were equal in difficulty and the required passing scores were the same, the passing rates for first-time test-takers in July were markedly higher than the rates for test-takers in April, although still not high enough.
The July overall passing rate was 53%, compared to 41% in April. The July rate includes 80% who passed the reading test, up from 70% in April; 78% who passed the writing test, up from 59% in April; 70% who passed the combined Communication and Literacy Skills Test, up from 51% in April, and 64% who passed any of the 30 subject tests, up from 62% on the subject tests.
The passing rates were very poor for second-time test-takers who took both communication and literacy skills subtests and a subject matter test, although about half of those who failed to pass the reading or writing portions in April were able to pass on their second try. The second-time test takers "clearly again were not equal to the task," Commissioner Driscoll noted.
The tests were given in April for the first time as a new condition for certification as required by the 1993 Education Reform Act. The test requires candidates for certification as public school teachers to take and pass a test of communication and literacy skills and knowledge of subject matter, in order to measure their ability to communicate effectively both with students and with parents and to measure their knowledge of the subject(s) they intend to teach. Massachusetts public school teachers must be certified by the state first in order to seek employment locally. Massachusetts and 44 other states require a written test for certification.
The next Massachusetts test for prospective educators is October 3. Unlike the prior two tests, students who are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in college may take the prospective teacher test. Also, beginning September 1, prospective administrators and support personnel who apply for state certification will be required to pass the communication and literacy skills test in order to become certified. Until now, only classroom teachers have been required to pass the test. With this addition, every prospective educator will be required to meet the qualifying score on the communication and literacy skills test to gain a provisional or advanced provisional certificate in Massachusetts.