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TC: Section 3 - Debate about the Massachusetts Tests for Educators Licensure (MTEL)

Page history last edited by Esther Cho 14 years, 3 months ago

 

 

Debate about the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)

            Another contemporary issue revolves around the efficacy of the MTEL, which consists of a two-part Communications and Literacy test and a content test for the field of the license sought (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2009). The debate about the exams primarily comes from two major groups: the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and the Center for School Reform.  MTA argues that the state should replace MTEL with Praxis I and II tests.  Using a praxis exam captures testing the concepts of practice informed by theory.  To push for change, MTA tried to pass a policy brief urging the state to replace MTEL with PRAXIS I and II tests in October 2008. MTA claims that using Praxis tests instead of state-specific tests would broaden the pool of teachers available.  They also believe that prospective teachers spend too much money on their licensure tests.  Specifically, MTA wants the state to use Praxis I, a test of a prospective teacher’s reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, instead of the state’s more demanding Communications and Literacy Skills Test. 

In contrast, the Center for School Reform (April 2009), believes that the MTEL, not Praxis will help maintain teacher quality in Massachusetts. Like the MTA, they also wrote a policy brief that suggested why implementing Praxis exams would stop the gains in academic achievement in that all groups of K-12 students have demonstrated since 2003 and, instead, lead to a widening of the achievement gap between Asian/Caucasian students and Black/Hispanic students.  Similarly, Ruth Mitchell and Patte Barth (1999) concluded in their 1999 Education Trust article that the Massachusetts Communication and Literacy Skills Test was the best skills test available at that time, with a level of difficulty comparable to a college examination, as opposed to Praxis I, which they judged to be at a middle school level in difficulty.

 

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