Assessing the Use of Licensure Tests as an Indicator of Teachers’ Science and Mathematics Content Knowledge for Teaching

Dan Goldhaber (PI), University of Washington

The National Research Council in 2013 released the report Monitoring Progress toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?, which outlined 14 Indicators as well as the needed research and development to create a system to monitor the quality of STEM education in the nation. This project is funded in response to a Dear Colleague Letter request for research in the Promoting Innovation in Measurement and Evaluation program focused on developing research and tools to advance the nation’s capability to measure these indicators. The researchers in this project will address Indicator 6: Teachers’ science and mathematics content knowledge for teaching. The project is investigating the extent to which teachers’ scores on the Washington State Educator Skills Basic and Endorsement tests are predictive of students’ scores on mathematics and science achievement tests. The findings from this study will inform the validity of the use of licensure tests as one indicator of teacher quality as part of a system of measures for Indicator 6.

The researchers in this study will be using data from the Washington Educator Skills Tests, collected over the past ten years for the Basic test and the past four years for the Endorsement tests. Data from secondary school teachers will be compared to student scores in middle school mathematics, high school Algebra, high school Geometry and high school Biology. Standard value-added methodology will be used to generate a within-subject estimate of the predictive validity of the licensure tests. Findings from this study, either positive or negative, will provide evidence of the validity of use of teacher licensing exams as part of an indicator system to determine teacher science and mathematics content knowledge for teaching.

See NSF award information.

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