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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 13, 2017 03:49 PM
From: Representative Joe Emrick
To: All House members
Subject: Teacher Preparation Programs Legislation
 
I am preparing to re-introduce legislation (former HB 499) that will prohibit teacher preparation programs approved by the Department of Education (PDE) from requiring education students to obtain a passing score on a Praxis exam in order to graduate, and further prohibits such programs from including a student's score on a Praxis exam as a component of a student's course grade.

Pursuant to the School Code, the State Board of Education (State Board) establishes requirements for teacher preparation programs offered by Pennsylvania colleges and universities and approved by PDE. In addition, the State Board sets forth requirements that an individual must satisfy in order to be granted a Pennsylvania teaching certificate. Through Regulations, the State Board requires PDE to institute a program of knowledge and skills assessments that an individual must pass in order to receive a teaching certificate (these assessments are commonly known as Praxis exams). Some colleges and universities offering approved teacher preparation programs require students to pass Praxis exams in order to receive a college diploma, or include a student's Praxis exam score as a component in the student's course grade. However, the State Board and PDE did not intend for the Praxis exams to be used for these purposes. This practice would be similar to a law school refusing to award a student a law degree because the student failed to pass the bar exam prior to graduation.

My proposal will expressly prohibit teacher preparation programs approved by PDE from requiring a student to obtain a passing score on the Praxis exams as a condition of graduation. Further, my bill will prohibit the use of a student's score on a Praxis exam as a component of the student's grade in any course (one exception is the assessment of professional knowledge and practice, which is properly included as a component of a student's student teaching grade). A student enrolled in an approved teacher preparation program should be evaluated and considered for a degree based upon the student's performance in coursework, not based upon the student's performance on a licensure exam. My proposal will ensure that Praxis exams are used only for the purpose intended by the State Board and PDE.

Thank you for your consideration.



Introduced as HB399