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Passage rate for teacher certification exams remain low

From physicians and attorneys to dentists and accountants, there are certain professions that require practitioners to not just spend years learning, but also pass rather demanding licensing exams once their underlying education is complete.

Another very good example of a challenging vocation to pursue is teaching, as prospective educators must dedicate at least four years to earning their diploma and more time toward earning their certification from the state. Unfortunately, reports indicate that this has perhaps become an unduly difficult endeavor here in the Sunshine State.

Statistics show that there has been a major shift in passage rates since the introduction of the new teacher certification test by the Florida Department of Education back in 2014.

To illustrate, comparing the average passing rates for the two years prior to its rollout and the years subsequent to its rollout reveals the following:

  • Passage of Middle Grades English is down 60 percent
  • Passage of K-6 Language Arts is down 38 percent
  • Passage of General Knowledge and Essay is down 30 percent

As to what's behind this phenomenon, experts indicate that the tests became more rigorous -- harder questions administered, higher scores required, etc. -- due to the emphasis given to improving teacher effectiveness under the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top initiative.   

The significantly harder exams, say the FDOE, are essential to ensuring that teachers "have the skills and knowledge necessary to help [students] succeed."

Critics, however, contend that the exceedingly difficult exams, which cost hundreds of dollars to take each time, are not just costing teaching students precious time and money, but also causing many to abandon their efforts, or even dissuading otherwise smart and capable people from pursuing teaching as a profession.

Furthermore, they argue that this phenomenon is serving to intensify the state's already critical shortage of strong teaching candidates. Indeed, one education advocacy group recently gave Florida one of the lowest ratings for attracting qualified teachers and the number of classrooms being led by inexperienced teachers.

It will be interesting to see what steps, if any, the FDOE takes regarding this issue.

What are your thoughts?

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional dedicated to protecting your rights and preserving your teaching future if you are under investigation, facing sanctions or have questions about a licensing matter.

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