HB 153 Teacher Retesting Provision Facts

House Bill 153 contains a provision for retesting teachers in the lowest ranked 10 percent of all public schools (Sec. 3319.58 below).

Sec. 3319.58
(A) As used in this section, "core subject area" has the same meaning as in section 3319.074 of the Revised Code.

(B) Each year, the board of education of each city, exempted village, and local school district, governing authority of each community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, and governing body of each STEM school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code with a building ranked in the lowest ten per cent of all public school buildings according to performance index score, under section 3302.21 of the Revised Code, shall require each classroom teacher teaching in a core subject area in such a building to register for and take all written examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure to teach that core subject area and the grade level to which the teacher is assigned under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code. However, if a teacher who takes a prescribed examination under this division passes that examination and provides proof of that passage to the teacher's employer, the teacher shall not be required to take the examination again for three years, regardless of the performance index score ranking of the building in which the teacher teaches. No teacher shall be responsible for the cost of taking an examination under this division.

(C) Each district board of education, each community school governing authority, and each STEM school governing body may use the results of a teacher's examinations required under division (B) of this section in developing and revising professional development plans and in deciding whether or not to continue employing the teacher in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or Chapter 3314. or 3326. of the Revised Code.

However, no decision to terminate or not to renew a teacher's employment contract shall be made solely on the basis of the results of a teacher's examination under this section until and unless the teacher has not attained a passing score on the same required examination for at least three consecutive administrations of that examination.

The Facts:

  • According to ODE, this law will not take effect until the 2012-2013 school year because the ranking system to determine the lowest 10% of districts is not required to be in place until September 2012.
  • Under 3319.074, the core subject areas are defined as follows:
    “Core subject area” means reading and English language arts, mathematics, science, foreign language, government, economics, fine arts, history, and geography.
  • The “current examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure to teach that core subject area” are:
    a) Praxis II content exam(s) AND Principles of Learning and Teaching for all content areas except world languages
    b) American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL/LTI) exams (2) for world languages AND Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching
    c) Information about these exams and links to the testing companies can be found at the ODE website here.
  • Every teacher would have to take a minimum of two exams
  • There are only seven Praxis II testing dates per year, and not all tests are administered on all dates. Certain tests are only offered three or four times per year. It may take multiple days for teachers to take all required tests.
  • Tests are administered primarily via paper and pencil at testing sites throughout the state. Some tests are moving to computer-based administration, but still must be taken at a designated testing center. Testing sites would likely not be able to handle the thousands of teachers who would be required to take tests beginning in 2012.
  • Fees for taking the Praxis exams are as follows:
    a) $50 registration fee charged once per testing year
    b) Praxis II computer-based tests range from $50-150 per test
    c) Praxis II paper-delivered tests range from $65-90 with most being $80
    d) The average cost for a teacher taking ONE content test and the Principles of Learning and Teaching is $230. Teachers with multiple certificates/licenses teaching in more than one core area will cost more.
    e) World language teachers will have to take the Praxis II PLT ($50 registration + $90 test = $140) in addition to the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview ($134) and Writing Proficiency Test ($65) for a total of $339
  • By using this year’s performance index scores and identifying the lowest 10% of buildings and then identifying teachers in those buildings who taught in the core areas last year, some sources estimate that over 6,000 teachers would need to be retested.
  • By law, teachers are not responsible for the cost of taking these exams, so districts in the lowest 10% will be put under the additional financial burden or retesting their teachers.

This new law is bad because...

  • Requiring teachers in core subjects in the lowest 10% of buildings to be retested places a huge financial burden on districts already struggling with budget cuts in these tough economic times.
  • Retesting teachers wastes planning and preparation time and takes the focus off of the classroom and students when we need to focus on the essentials-- a high quality education for all Ohio students.
  • Testing teachers does not help them improve their performance. Ongoing formative feedback that addresses the complexities of the teaching profession and individualized support allows teachers to improve their performance.
  • The tests required for licensure are not designed to diagnose problems teaching performance and do not reflect the complexity of interacting with diverse students. They are only valid to measure knowledge of specific subjects that new K–12 educators will teach, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills and knowledge.
  • Requiring that all teachers in core areas be tested in identified buildings is unfair. Master Teachers, National Board Certified teachers and other teachers who have demonstrated practice at an advanced or accomplished level would be forced to take the tests by law. And, teachers who were never required to take these exams for certification or licensure will now be forced to take them by law.
  • Testing centers will not be able to handle the huge increase in the number of test-takers this law requires.
  • This retesting provision drains money away from districts and gives it to large testing corporations.