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ASDOE sends apps for teachers to sit PRAXIS I test

Process of upgrading teacher profiling, testing and training begins
fili@samoanews.com

Some 500 applications from the local Department of Education (ASDOE) classroom teachers have been submitted to Education Testing Services (ETS) on the mainland, says DOE director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau.
 
She said the applications will provide the ‘PRAXIS I’ tests for teachers to take on-island Feb. 8 at the Tafuna High School campus.
 
According to the director, it’s estimated the 500-plus tests will cost the DOE close to $40,000 as each test is $75 per person. However, should teachers need to re-sit PRAXIS I, they will need to pay the second sitting out of pocket, she said.
 
Vaitinasa said a combined passing score of 170 points of the PRAXIS I Reading, Writing and Math, is one of the “rights of passage" criteria to be admitted to the UH Cohort program for Year 3 and Year 4 coursework leading to a Bachelors in Education degree.
 
“As of today, close to 50% of the ASDOE teachers have an AA degree or less, with many of these degrees in Liberal Arts.  Further, many of the high school teachers teach out of content areas,” she said.
 
“I have publicly announced to all classroom teachers, that by school year 2016, ASDOE will not hire teachers without bachelor degrees while simultaneously, current teachers in the system, must show evidence of being in the ‘pipeline’ toward completing their bachelor degrees in education,” she pointed out.
 
During last month’s graduation at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa College of Education for local teachers, Vaitinasa announced DOE is embarking on a “historical undertaking” profiling some 1,000 public school teachers, and this effort is to be carried out in this year.
 
Starting in March, she said then, “some 700 teachers of the Department of Education, who have never taken the ‘Praxis 1’ test, will be asked to take it,” and the results of this data will be used as part of the enormous profiling of every teacher in DOE.
 
Further, in the summer of 2014, “every teacher will be engaged in training — some in- service training,” she said and noted a teacher’s work is continued learning.
 
Vaitinasa provided an update Wednesday night on this issue, saying applications for over 500 Early Childhood Education, elementary, high school special education and high school classroom teachers, including JROTC instructors were mailed this past Monday to the non-profit ETS, which is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, and the test would be in February.
 
(ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million assessment tests annually in more than 180 countries, at more than 9,000 locations worldwide, according to the organization’s website, www.ets.org)
 
Vaitinasa explained, “The main purpose for this massive test taking mandate is to gather data on teacher knowledge and skills, primarily in Math, Writing and Reading. The data would add to the massive work that [DOE] Teacher Quality office has undertaken over the last two months to update each teacher’s professional file.”
 
She says the data will be stored in the DOE's Longitudinal Data System(LDS). “This is one of the major ‘clean up’ reforms of the DOE for teacher training and professional development which is responsive to the real needs of the teachers and ultimately, it will positively impact the quality of teaching in the classroom,” she added.
 
Meanwhile, DOE issued a brief statement this week saying all those who are interested in becoming a teacher and who hold a bachelor or master’s degree in education in the content areas of English, Math, Science, Samoan Studies or in the trades and technology areas, are invited to attend a meeting at 1p.m. today at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium’s North Wing (facing the DOE main office in Utulei).



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