State Board of Education to vote on changing teacher certification requirements

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Teacher certification requirements could soon be changing in the state of Alabama.

Many hope these potential changes will address the severe teacher shortage.

The Alabama Board of Education will vote Tuesday on whether to amend the requirement to take the Praxis, a test all teachers in the state of Alabama must take in order to be certified.

The Praxis tests help Alabama educators demonstrate their knowledge of content and instructional skills for the classroom.

Right now, passing scores on the Praxis range between 150 to 160 points, depending on the subject area.

But the state recently reviewed test scores taken between September of 2019 and August of 2021.

It found nearly 1,200 teachers scored one standard error measure below the passing score.

The State Board of Education proposed that lower scores be accepted for certification, if teachers can demonstrate they’re well-qualified.

Uniserv Organizing Manager for AEA, William Tunnell, said the change could bring dozens of college-educated people to the classroom.

“So, we’re bypassing someone with a college degree over a few points on one particular test and we’re substituting that person with someone who may have lower credentials. I think we all agree that a certified, and a licensed, college-educated educator would be better for our students long-term than a substitute classroom teacher. We know that a regular, full-time, year-long teacher is the best bet,” Tunnell explained.

Tunnell said lowering the Praxis scores wouldn’t necessarily weaken the education system, but it would offer some relief to districts struggling to fill teacher positions.

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