Date of Award

7-1-1988

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Department of public administration

First Advisor

Professor George 0. Kugblenu

Abstract

The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the use of standardized tests to assess teacher competency in the State of Georgia. The tests, which are most commonly known as the Teacher Certification Tests (TCT), are designed to measure individuals’ knowledge of subject matter for the grade levels and fields for which they seek certification. This study is significant because of the increasing public demand for accountability in education in this country. In an effort to respond to public pressure to improve the quality of education in Georgia. State legislators adopted a mandatory competency testing policy for its teachers, a provision in the Quality Basic Education Act of 1985. Currently, the TC~ is the sole basis for assessing teacher competence in Georgia. Only those individuals who pass the examination are considered to have demonstrated a minimum knowledge of their subject area and are deemed competent to teach in the Georgia public school systems. The major problem that has surfaced since the TCT was introduced has been the differential passing rates for minority teachers and failure by some veteran teachers to obtain passing scores on the examination. This has given rise to allegations by minority groups and the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) that the TCT is racially biased and not job related. This paper addresses the following issues associated with teacher competency testing in Georgia: racial bias, job—relatedness, and predictive validity. The major findings of this study reveal that the TCT is not racially biased; however, evidence exists to support the claim that the test is not sufficiently job related or a valid predictor of job performance. The primary data for this study were obtained from interviews with Susan Lacetti, staff writer for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution; Michael Kramer, Legal Counsel for the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), and various teachers who have already taken the test. Sources of secondary data that were utilized included court documents, books, journals, magazines, and unpublished materials.

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