Teacher candidates continue to face testing issues
RICA, CSET, CBEST flexibility extended under AB 130
January 10, 2022
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The November meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has approved extending flexibilities for teacher candidates to complete certain assessments through June 30, 2022.
In July, Assembly Bill 130 extended the deferral of the requirement to complete mandatory exams for RICA, CSET, and CBEST to Dec. 31, 2021 to account for testing center closures related to COVID-19. Under this deferral, candidates must complete the requirement prior to earning a clear credential. Additionally, AB 130 provided the Commission on Teacher Credentialing the authority to extend the deferral to June 30, 2022, which it did at its December meeting.
The law is clear that any extension of examination flexibilities needs to be tied to testing center closures and capacity issues.
According to the Commission’s assessment contractor, Evaluation Systems, of the 130 testing center sites in California, 102 are now open and serving candidates. There are 28 sites spread across 12 regions of the state that remain closed due to COVID-19. According to Evaluation Systems staff, in a review of the 19 regions of the state, all regions except two have multiple time slots available between now and February 2022.
Some candidates have had to drive three to six hours to Sacramento, the Bay Area or even Los Angeles to take examinations. Some candidates who work part time have had to give up a shift, and some interns have had to use substitutes (which are in short supply) in order to take the examination during a school day because that was when testing times were available.
RICA candidates eligible for the deferral: This pertains to any Multiple Subject or Education Specialist candidate enrolled in a program on or prior to June 30, 2022 who cannot take the RICA examination due to testing center closures or capacity issues during the period between March 19, 2020 and June 30, 2022. For these candidates, this flexibility may follow them through the completion of their program even if that is after June 30, 2022. Any individual who was admitted, but not yet enrolled, by June 30, 2022 would not be eligible for the deferral.
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CBEST candidates eligible for the deferral: This pertains to any individual who applied to a credential program on or before June 30, 2022 and who was unable to complete the basic skills proficiency test due to testing center closures related to COVID-19 between March 19, 2020, and June 30, 2022. Any individual who applies to a credential program after June 30, 2022 would not be eligible for the extension.
CSET for interns eligible for the deferral: This pertains to individuals who have applied for an intern document by June 30, 2022 and who are not able to take the CSET exam during the period between March 19, 2020, and June 30, 2022 due to testing center closures or capacity issues. They would need to meet the subject matter requirement in order to receive their preliminary credential. Any applicant for an intern document after June 30, 2022 would not be eligible for the suspension.
Suspension of preconditions: There is a suspension of Precondition 6 (Multiple and Single Subject) and Precondition 3 (Education Specialist) requiring that candidates demonstrate subject matter competence prior to daily whole class instruction. Any enrolled candidate in the 2021-22 academic year is eligible for this flexibility. Any candidate who was enrolled in 2021-22 under this flexibility will be able to continue their program into the future under this flexibility. They must demonstrate subject matter competence prior to receiving the preliminary credential.
Bilingual Authorization Educator Preparation Program Standards
Upon adoption of the revised program standards and Bilingual Teacher Performance Expectations, currently approved Bilingual Authorization programs will need time to learn about and fully understand these new standards and performance expectations. Institutions will need time to collaborate with their own faculty and TK-12 partners in determining what curricular and fieldwork changes need to be made to their programs and to complete their internal institutional processes to address and implement those changes.
Commission staff will use the remainder of the 2021-22 and the 2022-23 year to focus on supporting programs in gaining an understanding of the revised draft program standards and BTPEs and allowing institutions time to make curricular changes to their program.
Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program
The CTC received an update and annual report on the Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program. The Legislature approved a combined total of $45 million for two separate rounds of funding for the program, which is designed to partially address the state’s teacher shortages in math, science, special education, and bilingual education by providing classified school employees already working in school settings an opportunity to become a credentialed California teacher.
This grant program provides up to $4,000 per participant, per year, for up to five years for a total of 3,500 potential candidates. Approved grant programs use these funds to support tuition, fees, books and related services for participating classified staff. In July 2021, the state appropriated an additional, one-time $125 million from the Proposition 98 General Fund to expand the Classified Program for another five years.
New Options for Subject Matter Competence Requirement
In July 2021, AB 130 created new options in the Education Code for candidates to demonstrate their subject matter competence through a) degree majors in the area of the credential, b) coursework that covers the domains of the applicable Subject Matter Requirements for the credential sought, and c) a combination of coursework and examination subtests required for the credential sought by the candidate. The CTC adopted changes to clarify and standardize implementation of these new options.
Division of Professional Practices Workload Report
Following COVID-19 closures in March 2020, the Division of Professional Practices received fewer reports of educator misconduct, which resulted in fewer cases being opened. As expected, staff have begun to open an increased number of cases due to an increased number of applications received. In October, staff opened 436 cases, which is within the normal range of 400-500 cases opened per month. The Committee of Credentials reviewed fewer initial review cases in the past few months due to the overall decline of the division’s caseload.
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