States Set Varying Passing Bars on New Teaching Exam

edtpaThis blog has written previously about the much-touted edTPA teacher licensing exam, which promises to serve as a “bar exam” for teachers. The goal of this performance assessment is to set the bar higher for teacher certification and to be able to provide accountability across state lines and among teacher certification programs and schools. However, as a recent blog post from Education Week points, out, the accountability component looks to be undermined by the fact that the states using the test so far have set different standards for passing the test.

Education Week reports:

Below are some states’ cutoff scores for most middle and secondary teachers. The top score is 75 points and the test’s creators have suggested putting the passing bar no higher than 42. (The score setting is different for elementary and world-language teachers.) Note also that many states have established grace periods or “safety nets” for candidates.

  • California: 41, but programs can choose to use three other exams instead.
  • Iowa: 41, but candidates can take alternate exams.
  • Illinois: A 35 for now, but ramping up to a 41 by 2019.
  • New York: 41, but implementation has been twice delayed.
  • Tennessee: Each program sets the passing score; it must be at least a 37.
  • Washington: 35

Minnesota is using the exam not for candidate licensure but as one component of assessing teacher-preparation programs, so its grading system is a bit different. Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Georgia, and Oregon will require the test but haven’t yet set cutoff scores.

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