Oregon institutes new teacher certification process

All states recognize the importance of well-qualified teachers to the progress of their students. One way to ensure quality teachers is to implement a thorough, standards-based, up-to-date test - and a testing procedure that's user friendly.

In Oregon, the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) is charged with the responsibility of maintaining comprehensive exams aligned to professionally accepted national learning standards. "Part of our mission is to provide our state with the highest quality teacher licensure testing program, designed to ensure that our state's teachers are qualified to prepare students for success," said Victoria Chamberlain, executive director.

TSPC has begun working with the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to implement new contemporary teacher certification tests, part of the company's NES® (National Evaluation Series™). These teacher certification tests provide comprehensive exams aligned to professionally accepted national learning standards, covering areas such as essential academic skills, professional knowledge, reading instruction and commonly taught elementary, middle and secondary grade-level subjects

"By adopting the NES tests, we can now evaluate candidates based on the most current content in each subject or academic skill area, aligned to national subject and pedagogy standards, as well as move our program in a new direction with computer-based testing,” said Chamberlain. ”Computer-based testing allows us to offer candidates the convenience of taking a test on demand and receiving a score immediately after the test is completed so they know where they stand."

Oregon will use the new tests to replace many existing tests for licenses and endorsements, integrating them with the existing customized Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) program.

Beginning in Sept. 2010, candidates for Oregon teacher licensure will be able to take the NES tests at secure testing centers in the state and around the country. A series of free preparation guides, NES Profiles, will include the information a candidate needs about the test, such as the format, content areas and competencies covered, as well as sample test questions and answers.

The NES was developed to help states ensure that the educators they certify are prepared to teach effectively in 21st century classrooms and uses modern methods in test development, delivery and support.