The latest shortage numbers are over 4,000 teachers. Now it seems the State has laid off another 1,000 beginning teachers. Many teachers are employed right out of college and must complete three tests in general knowledge, subject area knowledge and professional education within three years. Until 2014, between 80 and 93% of teachers passed each exam.
ABC News reports that the general knowledge exams were made more difficult in 2015. Pass rates dropped between twenty or thirty percent. For example, pass rates in General Math dropped from 80% in 2014 to 57% in 2018. The exam includes number concepts, geometry and measurement, and algebraic thinking and the coordinate plan. You can see the required elements in each exam here.
These general exams are required of all teachers. In addition, teachers may add specific subject area certification. These subject exams have much more detailed content coverage. The question being raised is whether the increase in complexity of the general exams is warranted. The rationale for the increase in difficulty is that student tests are more complex; thus teachers’ tests should also be. At what point is testing for the sake of testing creating more problems than it solves