One in four aspiring teachers pass new teacher test

Becoming a teacher in Michigan just became a lot more difficult.

Only one in four aspiring teachers passed a beefed-up version of Michigan’s teacher certification test – an exam that teachers must pass to be hired to lead a classroom – when the new test was administered for the first time last month.

The initial pass rate for the old version of the test was 82 percent; In October, with more difficult questions and higher scores needed to pass, the pass rate was 26 percent.

That means that three out of four students who completed what is typically a four- or five-year college program will have to retake the test or find another career.

The toughened certification tests are an effort to assure that only the most highly-qualified teachers are leading Michigan classrooms.

“Just like we’d want the best and most effective doctor,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a news release about the new, low pass rates. “The same applies to teaching Michigan’s students.”

Bridge Magazine raised concerns about the ease of teacher certification tests in October. At the time, aspiring Michigan teachers had a similar pass rate on certification tests as cosmetologists.

That story was part of a series examining the crucial role of teacher preparation in increasing learning in Michigan classrooms, where test scores show students are falling behind students in other states.

The new tests have been in the works for years, and are based on the recommendations of a group of K-12 educator and representatives from teacher preparation programs in the state.

The results will likely be a shock to aspiring teachers, who were receiving their test results today. For example, the pass rate on the math section of the certification test fell from 90 percent to 45 percent; the pass rate for the writing section plummeted from 92 percent to 31 percent.

Because test takers must pass sections on math, reading and writing, the percentage of test takers qualifying for certification was even lower - 26 percent, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

The test results are expected to be a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting.

“We want the best and brightest teachers in Michigan classrooms,” Flanagan said. “Increasing the expectations necessary to pass the certification exam gets us closer to that goal.”

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Fri, 11/15/2013 - 6:50pm
Sure would like to see the breakdown by college for these tests.
Cat Buxton
Sat, 11/16/2013 - 8:59am
Agree. Read a review of this book in The Week and it was eye opening: The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way Hardcover by Amanda Ripley (Author)
Sat, 11/16/2013 - 5:34pm
"The toughened certification tests are an effort to assure that only the most highly-qualified teachers are leading Michigan classrooms." Good intentions but I'll bet the turnover rate of teachers will still be high, passing a test is really no guarantee of anything.
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 7:19am
I agree, good intentions, but the passing of the test does not indicate the success of the teacher in the classroom with actual students. That is the most important factor in determining a highly qualified teacher!
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 9:16am
While passing the test of basic knowledge does not guarantee that a teaching candidate will be successful in front of a classroom, you certainly can't teach what you don't know. And while the test has been toughened up from it's previous form, it still covers math only through Algebra II, and reading comprehension of material through the high school level, plus writing at that same level. This is perfectly in keeping with the higher high school graduation requirements that Michigan students have had to meet since the class of 2012. That said, several Schools of Education previously required their students to pass this test before starting their education-specific classes, or before student teaching, not after meeting all the college graduation requirements, That seems like a good idea to me, but troubling to think that students who can't pass a test on high school material would be admitted to 4 year colleges at all, much less in training to become teachers.
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 10:25am
Trigonometry and Statistics on a test that you need to pass to be accepted in an Elementary Education Program ??
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 9:57am
mb- Neither trigonometry nor statistics in any depth are included on the ACT / MME. Neither of those subjects are covered in Algebra 2, which is the level that 11th graders are supposed to have attained by the time they take the exam in the spring.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:31am
Interesting; one wonders what the pass rate would be for currently employed teachers if they were to take the basic certification examination.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:09am
Perhaps the Bridge article a few weeks ago on the more challenging route teachers in Windsor, Ontario have to travel to be a full-time classroom teacher is where this new exam is taking us. It's not uncommon for people in many professions to have to take a certification exam a couple times before attaining a passing score - lawyers, cpa's to name a couple. Why should teacher exams be different? Perhaps these people who failed need a bit of seasoning before they are in charge of a classroom. I recall from your previous article that the teachers in Windsor were required to serve as subs and the like for several years before they were allowed to have a classroom of their own. Perhaps these recent test results with the new exam points to our teacher prep schools having curriculums that are not up to the level they need to be. I agree with "EB" - I'd love to see a breakdown by school. I urge the State Board of Education not to back away from this issue. I also urge the State Board to keep the current High School curriculum standards for students and not allow the standards to go back down to teach to the least common denominator of students. In fact, continue to gradually raise bar. Challenge all the students and they will ALL rise to it.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:17am
I agree that the tests Michigan administers to prospective teachers, should be comprehensive and specific to the subject area(s) the future teacher will be certified to teach. I also believe that other "affective" characteristics of the individual should be given serious consideration, as well. I will not employ a teacher who can only recite facts, but lacks significant "people skills". Unfortunately, the assessment of effective "people skills", is difficult, and subjective at best. In response to a question asked above: Teachers who are currently teaching in our public schools, would pass the new exams, with little difficulty. Dr. Mike Shibler, supt. of the Rockford Public Schools.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:17am
I don't believe that "dumb" teachers are the problem with poor teaching. Teachers need to know how to engage kids and get the message across in a variety of methods. I can think of teachers in my life who were brilliant - but couldn't teach.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:18am
Wonder how many of the State Bd of Ed people would pass. Passing a test doesn't necessarily mean. You will be a good teacher. Teaching is an art and some of the best teachers may not be test takers just like some students aren't ...will we differentiate for them like we should and do for our students ??? QUALITY ISNT ALWAYS TOED TO A NUMBER.
Steve Feinman
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:26am
Several underlying issues have not been examined: 1) is the test relevant and appropriate for it's intended purpose 2) will the test guarantee classroom performance 3) what does the test measure and who set the standard 4) is there an underlying issue with the teaching curriculum and perhaps those teaching 5) what incentive does passing the test provide for staying in michgian, does it provide an guarantees 6) what's the advantage of Michigan certification compared to other states
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:27am
A good first step. The test results will most useful to students in teacher education programs who now will know what is in front of them and will help to focus their learning activities. The results will be useful to the faculty and administrators of teacher education programs who will now know how successful their programs are. The handing out of letter grades to students becomes irrelevant, as it should in all of education. It would be interesting to compare the grade point averages of those taking the test with their grade point average upon graduation. And, the test results by college/university should be published so that students planning to enroll in a teacher education program could use the results to select the university they will attend. That will certainly get the attention of the universities, and help motivate them to improve. The results of this type of testing have greatest value for improvement, not punishment. But sometimes change is painful, especially for those who have already graduated and have been led to believe they are ready for employment.
John Rose
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:36am
Terrific! Pay teachers less, give them no respect. Already 50% of those who start in the teaching careers leave within the first 5 years-so lets cut out 75% more and for those who stay let's give them a Bridge card and Medicaid and finally ask them to save enough for a pension. I am sure that we will be attracting the brightest and best, well done folks! A final question, shouldn't all the universities that had passed these folks on allow these students to stay (and not have to pay tuition/fees) until they can pass this wonderful exam? What a joke.
Rita Reimbold
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:38am
Interesting article. I'm a bit confused by which assessment you mean. There is one that most take prior to entrance into an education program, which evaluates basic skills. The second is prior to being granted a teaching certificate which is supposed to evaluate content knowledge. I took the the high school English exam a few years ago, just to see what it was like -- no writing involved, just 100 multiple choice questions. I passed, but didn't even recognize many of the pieces of literature referenced. I would not consider myself qualified to teach a strong high school English course. - Reading, yes; literature, no. These tests should be challenging. Not everyone should pass. You have to be smart to be a good teacher. I do agree, however, it takes more than academic achievement to be successful. People skills, passion and caring are attributes of our greatest educators. They should be revered and respected for the contributions they make to enriching the lives of our youth and our society.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:55am
Hypocrisy at its best ! Preach and preach how important education and teachers are and then do everything to degrade and denigrate public education and teachers. Increase class sizes, reduce preschool and early education programs, reduce salaries and benefits to all of the educators you deem so important. Wow...what a way to entice good students into education! Shame on you and every politician in Lansing .
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:57am
In regards to Anna's second paragraph - great point! They should be tested when they enter college to be a teacher versus after 4 or 5 years of studies and then finding out they can't pass the certification test. This parallels what they have been doing in Europe for a long time. Aptitude screening, testing, visits/experiences in possible fields of interest etc. during the first few years of high school. Students then go on a trade school tract or university tract during the last year of two of high school. This, along with additional visits/experiences and testing, should make for a more successful pursuit of a university or trade school degree. There also would be fewer years squandered pursuing something you find out you may not be qualified for or realize after years in college that field isn't your "cup of tea". Anna is on the right track - qualify, qualify, qualify during the "first period of the game" rather than when the game is over or nearly over. What Anna is stating only makes a lot of sense. But then sometimes when big bucks for the university in tuition and fees involved , common sense is ignored..
Kim Hunter
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 10:01am
Higher standards for teachers are one part of the equation for better schools. Tests are a part of that equation, but only the most perfunctory part. Math and reading/writing skills are crucial, actually the latter more so because even math teachers use words to communicate and bad writers are frequently bad communicators. Success in the classroom depends on classroom management and lesson plans, interpersonal skills in handling group dynamics and effectively communicating engaging work. I don't know if there is a test for that, but I doubt it. I hope there is some means---student teaching, mentoring and/or the study of best practices --- that new teachers can learn the best ways to interact with each and every age group.
Jon Blakey
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 10:06am
It will be interesting to see where this takes us. I am sure there will be a boom in test-prep programs and services. Just the fact that you lose unused knowledge and skills (advanced math is a particular area that suffers from this) over time is going to necessitate this. I also suspect college students from impoverished backgrounds will also be disproportionately failed as well. This will be due to the quality of the high schools attended, as much or more than their abilities. What will that do to the diversity of teachers needed in our increasingly diverse schools? I also wonder if this will finally result in increased starting wages for new teachers as the lower supply possibly increases the demands. Just as increasing the difficulty of high stakes testing for students has not led to solving the problems of society, I doubt that tougher tests will solve the problem of getting more talented people to enter the teaching force. Still need to make the job economically and intrinsically attractive.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 10:18am
You get what you pay for and to compare teachers to doctors is ridiculous. The starting pay for a teacher is about what a manage in a fast food restaurant makes and given the financial status of most districts in Michigan their pay will not be increasing if at all. I find it unbelievable that the individuals we entrust our kids to for sometimes more hours of the day than we spend with them make such a ridiculous amount of money. Flanagan who sits in his MDE ivory tower needs to spend some time in classrooms TODAY and see what teachers deal with on a day to day basis. He is out of touch as is the MDE and it is the kids that suffer. If you want good teachers compensate them appropriately. Would you feel confident having a surgeon operate on you knowing he is only making $30,000 a year....I sure wouldn't.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 10:49am
Students spend less than 15% of their time in a classroom, however, 100% of the onus for creating well educated, capable and productive citizens is being put on the shoulders of teachers. That doesn't make sense. the blame game needs to go away. We all have our part in raising and preparing the next generation. Our education measures -- test scores -- are a one-dimensional yard stick being applied in a multidimensional world. Education is not the exclusive domain of schools. How can teachers teach when kids come to school unprepared, disinterested, and lacking social and behavioral skills? Why are teachers solely responsible for student performance when their classrooms are full of kids who are unsupervised and undisciplined at home, and who grow up in communities and neighborhoods ripped by poverty, unemployment and violence? That's not to say education doesn't need reform; the institution is archaic and outdated. But, slapping-up teachers and stripping them of pay and benefits isn't exactly motivating the troops to do a better job. How much classroom time is spent on administrative functions and disciplinary issues and not instruction or curriculum? Can classroom time be better utilized? Teachers give tests and do assessments and file reports, but there's little feedback from them on how to improve instruction, curriculum and practices. The state needs to back up and take a broader look at why students underperform and not copout by pointing the finger at teachers. And by the way, you can throw higher ed into that analysis, too. That system isn't working too well, either.
Earl Newman
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:06am
Here's an idea: Let's ask the members of the State Board and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to take the teacher test and see how they do. Maybe we should give the same chance to Rick Snyder, Phil Power , and Ron French.
Ron French
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:34am
Mr. Newman - If I took the test, I would certainly hope that I would fail; if someone who hasn't had a single education class passes a teacher certification test, families should be concerned.
Glenn Roehrig
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:26pm
The test you wrote about is a basic skills test, not a certification test based on education classes. Therefore, if you are going to criticize those who fail the test, you better be able to pass it yourself since it covers primarily high school level coursework, not college level. I wonder if you could pass a journalism test on such concepts as getting all the facts, presenting them accurately and not drawing misleading conclusions.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:33am
I am also confused about which test this is. There is a "Basic Skills" test that one must pass to get into a teacher prep program. It contains a section on math, reading and writing. It sounds like this is that test but you take it BEFORE you even get into a prep program. The other MTTC (MI Teacher Test for Certification) are, as noted above, given AFTER you complete most or all of your coursework and is a huge reflection on the college you went to. Several professors at EMU told me not to take mine until I was almost done so that I would be sure to pass. I have taken the test for VI, LD, K-5 all, Speech and English 6-12 and passed all and most of them really didn't have anything to do with my actual teaching job. Certainly, it is helpful to have that knowledge but most of the questions are so canned as to almost be laughable.
Ron French
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:38am
This is the new version of what used to be called the Basic Skills test. The state requires that it be taken and passed before aspiring teachers begin student teaching; about half of teacher prep programs require this test to be passed before entering the education program; the other half only require it be passed before student teaching. Content-specific tests must be taken and passed before teachers can go into a classroom.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:38am
My daughter rooms in college with a teaching major. They have different math and science classes and she says are so easy. There should be no difference classes for any major.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:46pm
So, elementary teachers must take and pass advanced level tests in all majors?
Ron French
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:19pm
Hello Diana. All teachers must pass the initial test, no matter what their intended specialty. It's the initial test, which must be passed before an aspiring teacher begins to student teach, that had such low pass rates. Once an aspiring teacher passes this initial test and successfully completes a stint student teaching, he/she must pass a certification test specific to their content area - elementary education for elementary teachers, chemistry for chemistry teachers, etc. Thanks for reading.
jim folkening
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:02pm
Low test courses, testing intelligence or learning? Reflects more on university teaching and classroom standards. Shame students and parents paid professors salaries for poor performance.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:44pm
While I'm all for raising the bar for admission into teaching (and better coursework and much more field experience, while we're at it), your headline-- 3/4 of prospective teachers flunk!--is wrong-headed. I once attended a State Board of Ed meeting where cut scores for MEAP tests were established, and it cured me forever of any belief that a test can precisely determine who is/is not at "grade level" or, in this case, worthy of being admitted into teaching. Cut scores are guesswork, but being a point on either side is the difference between being "ready to begin teacher training" and, well, "flunking." It's fine that the test was made more difficult, especially if the additional items dealt with core literacy and numeracy skills. But piling the new cut scores on top gives us, if anything, less information about who wants to become a teacher and what capacities they bring to the table. It just produces a dramatic drop in the pass rate, and an insulting, demoralizing headline. For shame.
Charles Richards
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:39pm
Obviously, if we are going to demand higher quality, more talented teachers, we should be prepared to pay the going rate for those individuals. I have no objection to paying $60,000, $70,000 or more as a starting salary to get highly capable people with a lot of candlepower who could earn as much or more in other fields. But that should be done on the understanding that they won't be getting raises - aside from inflation adjustments - unless they contribute more value to the classroom as demonstrated by more improvement in learning. As Bill Gates has noted, there is no reason to give raises just for putting in more time. But, if with experience, a teacher succeeds in producing more student growth, they should be compensated for that. Of course, all of this would entail ignoring union contracts. We should be able to pay talented teachers far above union scale without any obligation to pay their fellow teachers the same. In fact, other teachers should not be given raises on the basis of seniority and certification, but raises based solely on performance. No doubt this would have negative effects on the teachers' social cohesion and morale, but teaching is, to a large degree, an individual effort rather than a team endeavor. And our objective is the students' education, not the teachers' egos.
Glenn Roehrig
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:14pm
With this article, Ron French has lost his last shred of credibility as an education writer. This article is sensational, misleading and incomplete. If it is the Basic Skills test of math, reading and writing he is referring to, it is not a test that is taken by four- or five-year college grads. It is typically taken in the first or second year of college or even in high school. This is hardly a test that qualifies a teaching candidate for certification. The subject area tests are the ones that come at the end of college and are taken for certification. Furthermore, anyone in college should be able to pass the test, not just aspiring teachers. It would be interesting to see how many aspiring doctors, lawyers, engineers and other professionals would flunk, as you so eloquently stated, the test if they took it in their first or second year of college. To target only teachers is another cheap shot. Finally, neither the basic skills test nor the subject area tests have anything whatsoever to do with how well one can perform in the classroom.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:28pm
Glenn, I don't question Mr. French's credibillity as an education writer for as best I can tell all he has reported is accurate. What I wonder about is the purpose of Mr. French's writing, it is simply to provide facts or is it to help the reader better understand an issue and made a more informed choice? I can only surmise from Mr. French's article that all teachers take the same certification test and 1 in 4 pass. I am sure how material that is, it would seem that elementary school teacher would have a need for different knowledge and skills compared to those teaching high school math or science. If they are taking the same test I wonder whether if it is provding a consistent value to the prespective employers. It seems there should be a two part testing, one for the general educational knowledge and second for the particular course or level of schooling the teachers arwe focusing on. I am guessing but it would seem you have higher expectation of Mr. French's reporting than the Bridge does. I do appreciate that Mr. French and Bridge offer information on issues that I don't generally find in most news media reporting. I do wish that both would make better use of their opportunities and do a bit more indepth research to help the reader fram the issues. In this case it would help if Mr. French could report on the reasoning behind having the certification and if there are any particular individuals ot groups the are strong supporter, and why.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:45pm
Duane, I'm not criticizing your response. What you wrote, though, shows that Ron French did not report accurately because there is still a misconception of the basic skills test. It is an entry level test, not a certification test. Furthermore, rather than providing a better understanding, he did the opposite by confusing the basic skills test with subject area certification tests. The certification tests, do cover various grade levels--early childhood, elementary education--and subject areas--history, English,chemistry and many more. Bridge is often more balanced than much of the media, but this article is more suited to Fox. Glenn
Ron French
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:15pm
Hello Glenn, thanks for reading and for adding to the lively discussion. I (and the Michigan Department of Education) beg to differ on a few of your points. These are the results of the first round of tests that replace the basic skills test, call the Professional Readiness Examination. The PRE, like the basic skills test, must be passed before an aspiring teacher is allowed to student teach. Some universities give the test when a student enrolls in a teacher preparation program (sophomore or junior year of college), but about half do not require the test be taken until the student is ready to begin student teaching, which can be as late as the second semester of their senior year. I don't consider second semester of senior year to be entry level. Second, the PRE is most definitely considered a certification test, both on the MDE website, and in discussions with MDE about the test Nov. 19 at the State Board of Education. There are specific content-area certification tests that must also be passed to be allowed to teach in a Michigan classroom - chemistry for chemistry teachers, high school math for high school math teachers, elementary education for elementary teachers. Those aspiring teachers must also have passed the PRE to be certified, which, if only a quarter are passing, should raise some red flags.
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 10:48am
The schools who require students to pass this test prior to being accepted into the Elementary Education Program better be prepared to have a 75% decrease in enrollment. And why is this test not required by ALL Universities prior to being accepted into the Teaching Program ?
Ron French
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:22pm
Hello Duane, thanks for reading. You're correct that this story doesn't provide much background or depth. I hope that the links provided in the story to a long series of stories recently published in Bridge on teacher preparation provide the depth you're looking for. The link to the series, which includes a story specifically on the issue of teacher certification tests, is here:
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 10:42pm
Mr. French, Thank you for your response and the link. I visited the site and reviewed the articles, I read them when they were initialy published on Bridge. They did not provide much on framing the issue of certification. What I learn from my 5th grade teacher was how important context is when looking at an issue or events. It can be the context of purpose, context of the system, the context of the people, even the context of the writers perspective. The importance of context has to do with how we look at or assess events or issues. Certification and how we consider it can be significantly influenced by the context. If the reader assumes that certification somehow determines the success/quality of a teachers ability to teach or their ability to survive their introduction into the classroom, they could decide that by simplying passing the certification testing they will be a top quality teacher. My experience (certification and testing only demonstrates their formal/technical knowledge) would indicate it would be a better measure of the college/university's academics program and preperation or the certification program of colleges/universities. These divergent perstectives could both be wrong because each person use their experience to create a context. Rather then leave it to the unique experience each reader uses it would help to understand the context that the article was written from. Such things as why certification, what is it purpose, who (by function) are proponets and even why, how others use the certification. Even one or two of these or how you see the issue would help the reader better apply the information in the article.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:15pm
On a note other than problems that exist with testing, I would just like to point out the following statement is completely irrelevant to the topic and hand: "At the time, aspiring Michigan teachers had a similar pass rate on certification tests as cosmetologists." It is completely logically irrelevant and should have been edited out of the article.
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:11pm
Love, love, love your unbiased tagline: State to Aspiring Teachers: You flunk! When these "brighter" students hit the classroom and get their first paycheck, they'll also be quicker to figure out they can't afford to live on the lousy salary they make and head for the exit. Next, these "bright" young people will open an ice cream store or some other business - something they don't have to pay taxes on. They will make a pocket full of money and complain about low standards and bad teachers (in other schools of course, not their own). Thanks Bridge, for blowing the lid off another crisis in education, and ignoring the policies of this administration that undermine education, explode the already yawning gap in wealth, and are bent on privatizing our schools. The facts you ignore demonstrate that U.S. education is #1 in the world when you control for the shameful poverty we enjoy. Our rate of childhood poverty is over double that of most developed nations in the world. We are #1, #1, #1 in the world in student literacy in schools with matching poverty rates. Let's advocate for healthy change in our schools and quit under-funding and bashing them. Thinking another test is going to solve the root cause of our problems is foolishness. Read Diane Ravitch's book, The Reign of Error to experience a fact-based (not uninformed ideological) look at education reform. Bridge/The Center for Michigan, you pass yourself off as providing non-partisan journalism, but you are a shill organization for the far right. Just read the comments like this at the end of every one of your articles. The people in support espouse conservative views and those opposed are liberal to an overwhelming degree. Enjoy your time in the sun, because eventually people will connect the dots. I just wonder how bad things will get before they do
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 10:59pm
Pete, Thank you for the suggestion on a book to read, I have put a request for it with our libraries. I may disagree with the views of the Bridge writers and editors, but they to give me some insight in to how others see an issue. Even with a bias this is beneficial as it causes me to think and try to frame my thoughts to that way of thinking/hearing. They also provide an opportunity to share my views so others interested in the issue might get a little dfferent perspective, which is also good. I would like to hear a bit more specifics about your view on this issue
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 11:30am
The 26% pass rate is big news with respect to what is happening to Michigan's current class of aspiring teachers, but it is meaningless for purposes of passing judgment on how qualified they are. Virtually ANY test can be given to ANY group of people, and their pass rate will depend on where the cut-off is placed. With a high enough cut-off, only 10% will pass. With another cut-off, 26% of the same people will pass. With a lower cut-off 90% will pass. If you want to pass judgment on the basic skills of people who are attracted into teaching programs, then you need to give the same test to people with other majors and see if they have a higher pass rate. (Or you could just compare average ACT scores.) Taken by itself, the 26% pass rate tells us more about where the cut-off was placed for this particular test than it tells us about the qualifications of our aspiring teachers. Perhaps more important, it tells us that we will not have very many new teachers a year or two from now, and that we are not likely to have very many people entering our teaching programs next year.
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 3:34pm
Exactly !! 74% decrease in enrollment~hmmmm who are those teachers going to teach ??
Valorie Melow
Thu, 11/21/2013 - 1:18pm
As an educator, I don't disagree with making the test more difficult. What I do object to is the fact that teachers are not respected as professionals and are not compensated as such.
Fri, 11/22/2013 - 3:43pm
Valorie, I would think rather then concern/interest with the difficulty of the test that the focus would be on how well the test reflects the actual knowledge and skill necessary to be a teacher. For the properly prepare candidate, the certification test should be easy. With regard to respect of a profession, how do you know your profession is not respected? Is the level of respect posted somewhere, is it commented on regularly, is there some public rating of professions, are there jokes about it? What do you think the respect level should be and how should it be demonstrated? Let's create a respect index for professions; 1-5 rating with 5 the top, some of the elements might be be interest of employment in that profession, social good, financial reward, public visbility, special recognition programs, etc. The we can rate each; 1 is nobody interested and 5 being everyone feels it can affect the future of our society/community. If you want we can define 2-4 later. Create a speadsheet and fill it out for half dozen profession as you think others would see them, then see how teaching fits with other professions. What do you think the compensation of a teacher should be based on, is results like much of the private sector professions do, should it be based on seniority like many manufacturing (bargained for) jobs are, academic accumulation (degrees, certified training, even publishing) that influence many in the colleges/universities? I sympathize with you on these issues, I have had some personal experience with them, and it can be good to talk them out and get others perspectives on them.
Sun, 11/24/2013 - 12:58pm
It would appear that the failure is with the colleges of education - low entrance requirements, low graduation requirements and little recognition of the problem.
David Rayome
Sun, 11/24/2013 - 1:09pm
Standardized test scores are a factor in success predictability, but not a guarantee. Hopefully more factors are considered.
Mon, 11/25/2013 - 7:52pm
Must I repeat .This is a societal problem, not just an educational one. Quit saying all kids must take the present math ,physics,chemistry,foreign language,requirements to graduate. Study the idea of multiple intelligences, and understand it is not how smart you are but how you are smart.. Fund education and quit beating up on the teachers. Ron
Mon, 01/06/2014 - 7:54pm
I strongly disagree with the new Basic Skills Test (now called the Professional Readiness Exam). For one, they say that the mathematics portion of the exam is elementary level when actually it includes problems focused around subjects you learn in high school algebra and geometry class. As a result of this, many are forced to focus on the math section of the test for a longer period of time, thus taking away valuable time from the reading and writing sections. They also expect students to stay focused for the full 4 1/2 hours without any breaks, which by the end, can drain ones energy and keep them from performing at their best. I'm not saying this isn't a good test to have in the state of Michigan. I do think it holds value, but the amount of information and the complexity of some sections is what prevents students from successfully passing the PRE. I think reading, math, and writing are all important subjects in education but we have to remember that not every teacher is going to be teaching these subjects, especially at the high school level. Some want to teach art, music, history, etc. and in these subjects, a teacher will not, for example, need to know how to solve an algebraic equation. This exam and the subjects within it are not the only elements that define what make a teacher well qualified. Along with this, many college students are already working very hard in their current academic courses at University. At the very least, they should notify college students that the standards for the exam have been raised so that students may have more time to properly prepare for the exam and now what to expect before taking it.