Legislative Letter: SB 78, “Teacher Pedagogical Assessment”

SB 78 is proposing a change to the assessment teachers have to pass in order to attain a provisional teaching license. The universities would like to switch from the current paper-and-pencil PRAXIS to a performance-based assessment. I support this change and the renewed focus on making sure our pre-service teachers are well-prepared.

In case contextual information about teacher licensing would be helpful, I’ve attached a guide to current UT requirements. Please consider voting for SB 78. Thank you for your time and efforts.

Legislative Letter: SB 78, “Teacher Pedagogical Assessment”

I am concerned about the proposed changes to Level 1 licensing in SB 78. I appreciate the vision of having an effective teacher in every classroom from day one. However, the reality is that teachers do not start out effective on day one, they can only start out well-prepared. When new teachers are hired, they enter a three-year provisional period–a necessary learning period. Provisional teaching already involves six performance evaluations, two national exams, a portfolio, and working with the mentor. What improvement in quality do we hope to see by increasing the number of new-teacher gateway assessments from nine to ten?

As has been pointed out by committee, there are several professions that require a provisional period and a board exam, such as a doctor. Currently, a doctor would complete a provisional period–a residency–and then take the board exam. That is similar to the path teacher prep candidates follow. SB 78 proposes to switch that order. It would be like a medical student being required to take the board exam before residency, instead of after.

In committee meeting I heard little discussion of current assessments for new teachers. I’ve attached a guide to the current requirements in case such contextual information is helpful. Thank you for your time and efforts.

Legislative Letter 1: SB 204 and grading policy
Legislative Letters: be sure to communicate with policymakers about what you know.