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As high stakes testing grows in K-12 education, it is no surprise that the testing for teacher certifications also is becoming more high stakes. This was been highlighted in 2012 and again on Friday June 4 when Federal Judge Kimba Wood ruled the tests that New York uses to evaluate teacher qualifications discriminatory and thus unconstitutional.
African-American and Latino teacher candidates were passing at only a 54 percent to 75 percent rate in comparison to that of the white teacher candidates. Given the high disparity of passing between races, the state was asked to prove how these tests, created by National Evaluation Systems (NES), satisfied the requirements for what was needed to actually teach.
“Instead of beginning with ascertaining the job tasks of New York teachers, the two LAST examinations began with the premise that all New York teachers should be required to demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts,” Judge Wood wrote.
The state education officials could not provide information showing how the tests were vital to the actual teaching job. Simply put, Judge Kimba ruled the test discriminatory because the knowledge needed to teach was not the same knowledge being tested.