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RESOLUTION ADOPTING STATE BOARD POLICY REGARDING PROSPECTIVE TEACHER TEST UNDER AMENDED CONSENT DECREE

WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education (the “Board”) finds that a quality teacher is a significant factor in student achievement, and that the interests of the public school children of Alabama are not sufficiently protected unless prospective teachers successfully demonstrate skills and qualities desired for those who teach in Alabama’s public schools; and
 
WHEREAS, the Board has established a three-part system to assure that the interests of public school children of Alabama in having quality teachers are protected; and
 
WHEREAS, this system has key components designed to enhance all public school children’s educational opportunities including accountability for the state’s colleges of education, a statewide in-class teacher evaluation system, and an entry level teacher certification test; and
 
WHEREAS, the Board has not implemented a prospective teacher certification test because this Board does not agree with the terms contained within the existing Consent Decree previously entered in Allen v. Alabama State Board of Education, CV-81-697-N (M.D. Ala.); and
 
WHEREAS, the Board will consider approving an Amended Consent Decree which will allow it to proceed with implementing a prospective teacher certification test under certain conditions negotiated by the parties to that Decree; and
 
WHEREAS, the Board understands that the selection or development of the proposed prospective teacher certification test is to be governed by the terms and conditions of the Amended Consent Decree; and
 
WHEREAS, the Board nevertheless desires to make it clear, while approving the general terms and conditions within the Amended Consent Decree, that the State Board of Education has certain minimum expectations regarding the proposed prospective teacher certification test and that there are certain conditions which any test selected or developed under the Amended Consent Decree must meet before the Board will authorize the test to be used for teacher certification decisions; and
 
WHEREAS, the Board desires to direct the State Superintendent of Education on certain policy issues relating to the proposed prospective teacher certification test, with the goal of protecting the interests of the public school children of Alabama.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Alabama State Board of Education adopts the following as its policy position for a test for prospective teachers in Alabama:
 
1. The entry level statewide certification test, which is described in the Amended Consent Decree, must be a basic skills test which assesses a prospective teacher’s competence in reading, writing and mathematics at a high level of rigor or degree of difficulty taking into consideration that all applicants for teacher certification in Alabama are graduates or prospective graduates of colleges, have completed or will complete in college an approved teacher education program, and should therefore be expected to demonstrate skills consistent with that level of education and training before being certified as a teacher. A test with a lower level of difficulty would not be acceptable to the Board because such a test would not be sufficient as a component of Alabama educational policy to assure that newly certified teachers in Alabama have demonstrated the qualifications to teach at a level which protects the interests of the public school children of Alabama in attaining high academic achievement.
 
2. If the range of cut scores established by the Monitoring Committee called for in the Amended Consent Decree, from which the Board is to select the final cut score, is set at a level which does not reflect mastery of the basic skills tested, consistent with the Board’s policy to establish academic standards for prospective teachers that are sufficient to protect the interests of the school children of Alabama, the Board will find the proposed cut score range unacceptable and will either decline to proceed with administration of the test or seek such relief as may be available to it under the Amended Consent Decree.
 
3. In exercising any judgment or discretion given him under the Amended Consent Decree, including, but not limited to, the development of requests for proposals, the selection of a test, the development of a test or the selection of a cut score from within the range identified by the Monitoring Committee, the State Superintendent of Education shall be governed by the principles stated in the proceeding paragraphs.
 
4. The Board’s appointee to the Monitoring Committee shall be directed to adhere to the policy principles in the preceding paragraphs in a manner consistent with sound psychometric principles and reconcile any differences in position considering the interests of the children attending public school in Alabama.
 
5. The State Superintendent is further directed to report quarterly to the Board on progress toward selecting or developing and implementing an entry level teacher certification test.
 
6. Any teacher certification test and cut score chosen or developed pursuant to the Amended Consent Decree must be approved by the Board before being administered.
 
7. The Board’s counsel is directed to inform counsel for the parties to the Amended Consent Decree and the members of the Monitoring Committee of this resolution.