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Teacher Certification Exam to be Tweaked by State After Many Fai - KOAM TV 7

Teacher Certification Exam to be Tweaked by State After Many Failures

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Joplin, MO -      Teachers have to be certified in Missouri before entering the classroom.  But the test they have to take has gotten a lot tougher and some are having a hard time passing it.

Nicole Hart and other education majors at Missouri Southern State University prepare to head into the classroom. As a graduating senior she's taken the Missouri Content Assessment or MOCA.

Nicole says, "It was really difficult."  She and several classmates passed the multi segment exam but know others have failed.

Kassie Underwood, "I was kind of afraid of it because I heard like the scariest stories people weren't passing so I was really nervous."

Nicole says, "Especially the history section. I found that section quite hard and I've heard a lot of people haven't passed the history part of the tests."

Kirsten Robertson agrees saying, "That was the part I struggled with the most and it was difficult because there were things I hadn't covered since elementary school."  And it's even harder for specialty subject teachers at the middle and high school levels.

Deborah Brown, the interim dean of the school of education says,  "In talking to some of our  social studies students, that was a six hour test.  And we have expressed our concern with that. That's just not good testing."

And after getting feedback, the state board is adding more time in the math and science test areas and reducing the number of math questions.

Brown says, "The number of questions had doubled although the time  given to take that exam had not changed  at all."

All agree that it's important to have high standards for teachers, but there is concern about failure rates.

Jim Horton, the executive director of the Southwest Center for Education Excellence says, "If you raise the standards, you limit the number of teachers.  It's gonna affect a number of school districts especially the smaller districts."

While southern education students say they felt prepared for the  test, the university intends to review its curriculum to make sure its aligned.

Brown says, "We've been meeting here with our content folks in social studies, math, etcetera to look at if the course that are  required to see if they need to be changed so it's better aligned with this new  exam."

Underwood, who passed on the first try, laughingly adds, "Since it is a brand new test, we're kind of the guinea pigs. We get to just take it and hope for the best."

The state board is keeping the qualifying scores required to pass the exams the same.      

     But further discussion on the test  will take place  next month when the state board meets with the coordinating board of higher education.

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