"Teacher Certification Test"



Some people believe that the teacher certification test is a way to determine the status of a perspective teacher's abilities. The standard test is divided into two sections, subject competency and literacy. Standardized tests are tests on which all students answer the same questions, usually in multiple-choice format, and each question has only one correct answer. To me, this doesn't seem to be an accurate way to measure one's abilities. Therefore, I think that standardized, written tests in subject competency and literacy should not be given to students for teacher certification in the state of Massachusetts.
In July of 1997, about 47 percent of 2,500 teaching candidates failed the teacher certification test in Massachusetts. Many students just don't test well and lack good assessment ability. Sophi Sagall, a student from Emerson College said she failed the reading portion of the July test by only four points. She will have to retake that portion during the next test. She was also planning to teach drama at Wellesley High School in September , but does not know how the school will react to her failing the test. Sophi says, "I was nervous going in because of the attention, I knew no matter what score I got, I would be under scrutiny." When a student fails a portion of the certification test, they lose their chances of being certified, all at once. They are then left feeling hopeless and effortless.
Not only do standardized tests reward the ability to quickly answer seemingly easy questions not requiring any thought, the scores aren't "reliable." All standard tests have "measurement error." An individual's score is likely to vary from day to day according to the testing conditions and the student's emotional or mental-state. For example, if a test-taker is worrying over a personal problem while taking the test, it will most likely effect their results. However, if the student was to retake the test, in a normal state of mind, he or she would have had better results.
Many people argue the fact that since students went to college, they should be prepared to take the certification test and pass successfully. After receiving the poor
test results in July, professors are holding the colleges responsible for this data. Acting Governor Paul Cellucci says, "The problem is not with the test, the problem is with people coming out of the teacher colleges who are not prepared." This problem shouldn't be blamed on the professors and colleges, the tests should be held responsible for this matter. Test scores do not reflect what we know about how students learn. An article out of Teacher's Magazine states, "While our understanding of the brain and how people learn and think has progressed enormously, tests have remained the same." Standardized tests are not able to interpret the theories we use now and are still based on narrow skills. They also lack adequate measurements of thinking skills or assess what people can do out in the real-world. In my opinion, something must be done in order to improve testing scores.
There has to be some way to test a student's ability in order for them to achieve a valid teacher certification in the state of Massachusetts. Some people have suggested a better way to evaluate students' achievements and abilities. Instead of having standard tests, students should be exposed to real learning tasks while also being actively involved with the community. They also would be required a certain number of hours student teaching in classrooms.
For example, in the state of Maryland, the Department of Education is committed to providing their students with experiences in a number of diverse settings. These settings are provided for the students through development schools which are located in the Baltimore - Washington area. "Mastery of this process demands the development of a broad intellectual perspective on academic, policy and pedagogical issues coupled with extensive and diverse experience in the classroom."(UMBC) It's important to have field experience such as student teaching. Good teacher observation and performance-based assessment is a more accurate way to measure achievement and provides more information than multiple-choice tests.
In conclusion, I think that standardized tests for teacher certification is an unsuccessful way to test a student's teaching ability. Not only do the results reflect inadequate information from