By Alma Linda Manzanares
The Student Government Association will hold a forum to discuss changes in testing requirements for student teacher candidates 1-3 p.m. Dec. 4 in the auditorium of the Central Academic Building.
The forum will help clarify and address questions and changes in requirements for certification, testing, field residency and practice exams for students enrolled in educator preparation programs, Dr. Eric Lopez, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, said.
A change implemented this semester requires student teaching candidates to pass state TExES content exams prior to their student teaching semester.
Prior to this fall, students were only required to pass practice tests and attempt the state content exam, Sylvia Soto, vice president of SGA and the university’s Alpha Delta Omega Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society of Education, said.
“Students are kind of in the position where they don’t know what they’re going to do next semester if they don’t pass their state exam before school starts in January,” she said. “These students aren’t going to be able to move to the next level, student teaching, until they get certified.”
Velma Villegas, special assistant for education and teaching, said the College of Education and Human Development made the changes because it’s important for students to be prepared in content before they begin their student teaching.
“They take over the classroom,” she said. “You are the teacher as a student teacher so that’s why it’s critical and important that they’re well prepared in their content area.”
Soto said she understands why the requirement was changed since a lot of students were graduating without content certification. However, she said the changes were not effectively communicated before the start of the fall semester and may delay student graduation dates.
Options for students who do not pass the state content test, such as taking a practice course for non-course credit, will also be presented during the forum, Soto said.
“It is a huge issue and some students are looking at just dropping the program or looking to transfer to other schools,” she said.
Lopez will speak at the Dec. 4 forum. Villegas and Annette Gonzales, director of the educator preparation and certification center, will help answer questions.
The forum is sponsored by SGA, Kappa Delta Pi, the College of Education and Human Development and the department of student engagement and success.
For more information, call SGA at 210-784-1333.