New York State Department of Education officials are considering approving conditions that would allow those who fail the state's new mandatory teacher certification exam the ability to still be certified and be given another chance to pass it.
This in spite of early statistics saying that some 83% of the first 1,600 test takers received a passing grade. The education teacher performance assessment (edTPA) has been equated to a "bar exam" for teacher candidates. According to edTPA's website, the exam was developed by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and Stanford University.
According to the Associated Press via the Oneida Daily Dispatch, the conditional certifications would be a consideration from criticism that the process had been rushed into use by the Board of Regents.
Colleges could not begin integrating the requirement until after the fall 2012 semester, according to United University Professions, which has asked the state to suspend the mandate.
"We cannot stand by and watch this flawed process move forward that could dramatically undermine the professional futures of thousands of would-be teachers," said United University Professions President Frederick Kowal, whose union represents State University of New York faculty.
The original testing date was supposed to be in 2010. It was postponed to 2013, and then delayed an additional year. The edTPA test not only includes a written component, but requires that those wishing to become teacher submit video evidence of their abilities in a classroom.
It costs each prospect $300 to take the test and makes for a total of four written tests that the state of New York requires to become a certified teacher. While some 30 states employ the edTPA exam, only New York and Washington State have it as a mandatory requirement to become certified.
A bill recently introduced in the New York legislature calls for the edTPA requirement to be postponed until July 2015 according to an editorial piece by Tom Pinto in The Journal News.
An Assembly bill would delay the requirement that prospective teachers achieve "satisfactory levels of performance" on the edTPA portion of the New York state teacher certificate examinations until July 1, 2015.
State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern), among the bill's co-sponsors, said that teacher candidates have not been given adequate time to prepare for the new assessment. "If we are going encourage our young people to be involved in education, we don't want to place any barriers," she told the Editorial Board. There were also privacy concerns for the children in the class, including whether there was adequate time to obtain parental permission to record the children.
"It's a good reflection of what teaching is all about, but it's a bear. It's a real bear," said Education Dean Wendy Paterson at the State University of New York's Buffalo State campus. She said some edTPAs have included 50 pages of writing.