The Board of Regents recently took steps to improve the process to obtain an initial teaching certificate in New York. The changes are based on the recommendations of a panel of education experts and public input, and maintain the state’s rigorous standards to ensure that candidates for certification are well-prepared to teach.
“The changes we made [to] demonstrate that the board is listening to the experts and the public,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “The new passing score on the edTPA remains among the highest of those states that require its use; at the same time, however, we continue to provide our teacher candidates with fair options to meet the exam’s requirements.”
Following a lengthy and open process that sought and used public and expert input, the Regents approved a series of changes to New York’s teacher certification process. Specifically, these changes will: phase-in a revised passing score on the edTPA teacher certification exam; extend the safety net for those candidates who do not pass the edTPA; and amend the eligibility requirements to use a Multiple Measure Review Process in certain cases.
“The Regents continue to take important steps to ensure the quality of our teaching force,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “New York is facing a shortage of qualified teachers in specific subject areas and in many parts of the State. [The] action strikes the right balance by providing fairness to those seeking to become teachers, while maintaining some of the most rigorous certification requirements in the country.”
Public Input & Task Force Recommendations Inform Changes
In May 2014, the Department of Education released new and revised teacher certification exams. One of those new exams, the edTPA, is a subject-specific, multi-measure performance assessment that is required for initial certification. A standard setting panel of experts established a passing score of 41 on the edTPA exam. At that time, the Board of Regents also established a temporary safety net for students who do not pass the edTPA. The safety net allows these students to take and pass the Assessment of Teaching Skills—Written (ATS-W) in place of the edTPA.
In 2014, the department also established an edTPA Task Force to explore possible improvements to the exam going forward. The task force was comprised of representatives from CUNY, SUNY, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu), the Teacher Education Advisory Group, United University Professions (UUP), the Professional Staff Congress and New York State Education Department staff.
In January 2016, the edTPA Task Force reconvened at the request of members of the Board of Regents. The Task Force, led by Dr. David Cantaffa of SUNY and Dr. Jamie Dangler of UUP, was also informed by information gathered by Regents Kathleen Cashin and Catherine Collins at a series of public forums held around the state. Those meetings were attended by members of the Board of Regents, Commissioner Elia, SED staff and the public.
The edTPA Task Force presented its recommendations to the Board of Regents at the Board’s January 2017 meeting.
The edTPA Task Force recommended that the department establish a standard setting committee to determine if the passing score for the edTPA should be reset and gradually phased-in over several years. To address this recommendation, the department convened a 31-member panel in June 2017 that reviewed the edTPA passing score; the panel was comprised of a diverse group of P-12 educators as well as higher education faculty with experience in teacher preparation.
The Standard Setting Panel recommended a passing score of 40 (the current passing score is 41) that would be implemented after a four-year phase-in period.
Multiple Measures Review Process
The Task Force also asked the department to implement a Multiple Measures Review Process in cases where there is compelling evidence that a candidate is ready to teach but did not achieve a passing score on the edTPA. At its June 2017 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted regulations to implement such a review process.
Since the initial adoption of this regulation, the standard setting panel determined that an amendment is needed to ensure consistency for candidates and to make it easier for them to know when they can utilize the Multiple Measures Review Process. Specifically, the panel recommended revising one provision of the existing regulation so that a candidate will have to score “two points below the passing score” (rather than the existing “one standard deviation below the passing score”) to be eligible for the review process. The Board today adopted that change, as described in the Table above.
Now a multiple-measures review process can be undertaken for candidates who take and are not successful on the edTPA, but who otherwise have the knowledge, skills and abilities to become a teacher of record and who:
1. Fall within two points below the new passing score;
2. Have a minimum GPA of 3.0; and
3. Pass all other exams required for the teaching certificate they seek.
The department has worked with representatives from cIcu, CUNY, SUNY and the edTPA Task Force co-chairs to develop policies and procedures to implement the Multiple Measures Review Process. The policies and procedures will include a description of the panelists who will review the candidates’ cases (e.g., how panelists are selected, length of terms, etc.), the format and frequency of panel meetings and the parameters for the candidates’ letters of recommendation that must be submitted in support of their application for review. The Multiple Measures Review Process will not be implemented until the new cut scores go into effect.
Existing regulations allow students who do not pass the edTPA exam to take and pass the Assessment of Teaching Skills—Written (ATS-W) in its place. This safety net is currently available until either the date a new passing score for the edTPA is approved by the Commissioner (after a recommendation is made by a new standard setting panel) or until June 30, 2018, whichever is earlier. To help candidates transition to the Multiple Measures Review Process, the Board today amended the regulations to extend the existing safety net to June 30, 2018—even though a new passing score will be effective before this date (see above, “Phase-In of Revised Passing Score”).
Beginning on July 1, 2018, the ATS-W (the current edTPA safety net exam) will no longer be available and candidates will no longer be able to register for or take the exam. Candidates who would like to take advantage of the edTPA safety net must plan to take the edTPA and receive their edTPA scores in time to register and sit for the ATS-W. The department will communicate the edTPA safety net extension to the field continuously through June 30, 2018. During this period, the department will begin to implement the new Multiple Measures Review Process and make that process available to students who meet the established criteria.
Timetable for Implementation
The amendments to the Multiple Measures Review Process and the safety net extension became effective as an emergency measure on Sept. 12, 2017. Public comments on the regulations changes will be accepted through Nov. 13, 2017 and can be submitted by email to REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov.
Following the 45-day public comment period, it is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at its December 2017 meeting and would become effective as a permanent rule on Dec. 27, 2017. The phase-in of the passing score on the edTPA exam does not require an amendment of the regulations.
—Submitted by New York State Department of Education