SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A bill to temporarily suspend a test for college students looking to become teachers is now one step closer to becoming law.
In Illinois, college students are required to take a teacher performance assessment test known as edTPA to get their license. The assessment has prospective teachers put together video clips of them teaching and design lesson plans. The test costs $300.
“edTPA does not ask candidates to do anything that most are not already doing in their preparation programs, but it does ask for greater support for and demonstration of these skills that research and educators find are essential to student learning,” the test’s website reads.
For education experts, the exam was often considered a roadblock to getting more teachers in the state’s classrooms.
“What we started to find is that people said, ‘I’m not putting myself through that. It’s too much work, it’s too much too many hoops to jump through,’” Mark Klaisner, president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, said. “And so it was actually deterring some students going into the teaching field.”
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order in April 2020 that waived the edTPA requirement, but that order expired in May with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic executive orders. A bill that passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support waives the edTPA requirement for aspiring teachers until the end of August 2025.
The bill also creates a task force to study different evaluation tests for teachers and looks at creating a new one that could be implemented across the state.
“We keep hearing from teachers, from superintendents, and from education experts that the edTPA system is broken, it’s outdated, and it is stopping good teachers from ever getting to the classroom,” Sen. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said. “This legislation will waive the requirement while helping us to get to a better, more effective method for evaluating prospective teachers.”
The task force would have to give a report of its finding to the Board of Education and the General Assembly before August 1, 2024.
The bill would go into effect July 1 if signed by Pritzker.