Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Licensure Regulations for School Personnel [8 VAC 20 ‑ 22]
Action Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 11/6/2015
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10/7/15  12:39 pm
Commenter: LouAnn Lovin, James Madison University

Early, Elementary, and Middle School Mathematics requirements

I was happy to see the increase of required mathematics courses that includes an explicit mention of a math methods course for Early, Elementary, and Middle School teachers preparing to teach mathematics. However, I have grave concerns regarding the option for teacher ed programs to replace math content courses with passing a "rigorous elementary subject test prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education”  which presumedly will be a content Praxis exam. The current situation with the content Praxis exam for early childhood/elementary seems to be a moving target - and it’s also not all that clear how Virginia’s cut score relates to other states because they keep changing the exam. For too long VA has allowed the cut score on the Praxis for early/elementary “content” to be much lower than the cut score required by Middle Ed and Secondary Ed content areas - the latter which have been the highest in the nation. Given the foregone conclusion that there has to be an exam for licensure, VA should step up and require their early childhood and elementary teachers to also have to meet the highest cut score in the nation for ALL of their content Praxis exams. Not only is it difficult to find any state where most if not all people eventually pass the elementary Praxis content exams; but D’Agostino and Powers (2009) conducted a meta-analysis on certification exam data that revealed that certification test scores, such as the Praxis, likely do not offer additional information beyond “safeguarding the public from incompetent teaching” – certainly a minimal expectation. In short, the results of that study do not support allowing Praxis to replace required content coursework. In fact, D’Agostino and Powers state "It was found that test scores were at best modestly related to teaching competence and that performance in preparation programs was a significantly better predictor of teaching skill.” So including the option to take a Praxis exam over taking content courses raises red flags for me. And assuming the Praxis exams will continue to be used, at the very least, Virginia should require their teachers to meet the highest cut scores. Virginia's children deserve it.