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TC: Problem with MTEL: Issues with Race

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



Problem with MTEL: Issues with Race


One of the contemporary and controversial debates has also looked at the correlation between certain races and their ability to do well on the MTEL.  In the 2005-06 school year, according to data available from the state, 52% of Latino applicants and 54% of black applicants flunked the writing portion of the exam, nearly twice the rate for whites. The failure rate for native Spanish speakers was above 60%.  The test results led to the termination of about 100 minority teachers in Boston, many of whom had until then received temporary waivers that allowed them to retest.  They were dismissed as the state raised concerns about the disparity in passing rates among aspiring teachers of different ethnicities. More than two years ago, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education established a task force to examine the issue which Section Two analyzes.  Most recently, on October 14, 2009, a federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the state’s controversial licensing test for teachers, sidestepping concerns that the test discriminates against members of minority groups and instead spelling out what he called minimal standards for teachers, namely “the clear and accurate use of language’’ (Valencia, 2009).  Unfortunately, Judge Edward F. Harrington, citing minor technical issues, dismissed the case before it had a chance to be heard. Similarly, Peter Kiang, an education professor took the MTEL and concluded “both the content and process of the test to be distressingly arbitrary” (Kiang, 1998-1999). These problems with the MTEL imply that the exam is not a high-quality assessment of teacher quality.



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