Graphic reading: KDE News, Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) has expanded assessment options for educators seeking a teaching certificate.

EPSB members during their Dec. 12 meeting approved a -1 standard error of measure (SEM) for the cut score for Praxis assessments. The EPSB also approved the use of the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) to meet the content and pedagogy assessment of 16 KAR 6:010.

Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner Byron Darnall explained the PPAT offers a performance-based alternative to standardized testing, while the -1 SEM adjustment is specific to Praxis assessments. The expanded options aim to decrease the likelihood of denying certifications to people who can serve as a teacher but fail the assessment due to a score that doesn’t represent their abilities.

“The proposed action will provide future teachers expanded options for meeting certification requirements while still maintaining standards,” said Darnall.

SEM is a testing principle that estimates the variation around a true score for an individual when repeated measures are taken. The standard error represents how well the test score reflects ‘true ability’, according to Darnall. Since there will always be a chance for false positives and false negatives, Darnall said adopting a score at -1 SEM is a way to decrease the chance of false negatives, or people who have the abilities needed to teach but didn’t demonstrate them by meeting the recommended passing score.

The measure EPSB approved gives educator preparation providers the choice of offering PPAT to prospective teachers. If they do offer it, they also can set grade point average requirements for candidates to use the PPAT and determine the number of placements that student teachers using the test must complete during their student teaching assignment.

The EPSB approved -1 SEM and the PPAT to meet assessment requirements on a trial basis until Dec. 31, 2023. The EPSB will seek feedback from candidates, districts and educator preparation providers on the changes over the course of the next year.

The next EPSB meeting is Feb. 13.