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Higher Ed prepares for new teacher testing requirements

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The New York State Education Department is implementing new testing requirements for initial teacher certification. In our Focus on Education report, WBFO's Eileen Buckley says leaders from the state Education Department met with some members of higher education in Buffalo about these changes that begin April 30.

"Research has shown, that over and over, that it is so critical, that day one when a teacher becomes the Teacher of Record in a classroom, that they are prepared to deal with all of the challenges, all of the concerns that students have," said John D'Agati, deputy commissioner of Higher Education at NYSED. He recently traveled to Buffalo to meet with some of the deans from the region's colleges, including Canisius, St. Bonaventure and Buffalo State. 

State Ed has been working closely with higher education over the last two years providing professional development for faculty, staff and department chairs as they prepare students so they can pass the new teacher performance assessment.

Anyone graduating from college after April 30th in the state will be required to take the new set of teacher certification exams -- that includes the performance assessment.

"Students have always had to take a placement a student – so you’re a college student – you need to be able go into a high school, or elementary school – you’re there for a certain amount of time and you always had to prepare a lesson plan. You always had to learn how to prepare assessment.  What is different now – you are being tested on it, you have to take a video of yourself," said D'Agati.

“It has been a little be contentious with all of us because of the timeline," said Wendy Paterson, dean Education at Buffalo State.  Now members of higher education are rushing to make sure their students are ready for this month's deadline for what is known as Ed TPA -- a Student-Centered Multiple Measure Assessment.

“And that requires a student teacher to film themselves teaching and to prepare a commentary about what they did to prepare for the lesson, what they did in the lesson, to reflect on assessment of the lesson and to talk about the instruction for three different students,” said Paterson.                                                               

The new requirements are connected to the Education Department and Board of Regents desire to change how teachers are evaluated under the Regents Reform Agenda.