MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) —In an effort to get more teachers in classrooms, Alabama school board officials on Tuesday voted to temporarily lower the minimum passing score on the educator certification test.
The temporary measure will implement a sliding scale that will allow higher grades to compensate for a lower score on the Praxis certification test, news outlets reported. It would also set up a waiver system in areas with critical shortages, so lower-scoring graduates could teach temporarily. They must eventually pass the test to earn a permanent certificate.
The temporary measure was approved as the state tries to combat a teacher shortage. Alabama lawmakers this spring approved the largest pay raises in a generation in an effort to keep experienced teachers in the classroom.
“We have superintendents right now that have jobs posted, and those jobs have no applicants. no applicants at all,” Superintendent Eric Mackey told WSFA.
The change will be in place for two years.
“For two years, we will look at those students who score between the regular cut score and minus one standard error of measure, so about five points below. If those students score in that range, and they have a higher than normal GPA, then we can go ahead and give them a teaching certificate,” Mackey told the station.
In areas experiencing a critical shortage of educators, graduates who scored two standard error measures below the required Praxis score could be hired on a temporary basis and given an opportunity to retake the test. If they don’t eventually score higher, they will not get a teaching certificate.