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Perspectives of Faculty, Teacher Candidates, and Teachers on EPP Entrance Exams

Teacher working with student at his desk.Performance assessments that serve as a gateway to teacher preparation programs (i.e., Praxis Core, similar state-developed assessments) are intended to measure students’ basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. While these skills have no correlation to a candidate’s ability to be successful in a preparation program or relationship to effective teaching, many states require educator preparation programs (EPPs) to ascribe to the use of entrance assessments as a perquisite for program admissions.

The AACTE Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) is examining how cut scores are being set for these assessments and its impact on aspiring teachers and the teacher-of-color pipeline. In its recent infographic, The Impact of Program Entrance Assessments on Aspiring Teachers and the Teacher of Color Pipeline,  AACTE highlights key themes and findings from focus groups held with in-service teachers, teacher candidates of color at various institutions, and faculty of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Four key themes emerged from the focus groups:

  • Test Preparation: Teacher candidates and teachers described the lack of support, tools, and resources provided to assist in preparing for the assessments.
  • Cost of Test: Faculty, teacher candidates, and teachers overwhelmingly noted that the cost of assessments poses a significant barrier, including additional fees for retakes. The inability to cover these expenses have contributed to some candidates changing their trajectory and choosing not to pursue teaching as a career path.
  • Relevance of Test: All stakeholders who participated in the focus groups questioned the relevance of these basic skills entrance assessments to the pedagogical skills and content knowledge that teachers need.
  • Stress of Testing: The high stakes of entrance assessments, lack of feedback on missed items, and retakes induced anxiety of test-takers and contributed to an overall poor academic identity.

CREA Infographic ScreenshotRead the complete CREA focus group findings and preliminary recommendations. For more information about the CREA project, contact me at wjames@aacte.org.

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Weade James

Vice President, Organizational Advancement