Code of Alabama

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Body:Section 16-23-16.1

Creation of Professional Teachers Standards Commission; designation or development of entry-level pre-certification examination for teacher candidates.

(a) The Legislature finds that Alabama is alone among the southern states in not testing teacher candidates before allowing them in the classroom, and acknowledges that the need exists to establish, maintain, and enforce minimum professional standards for teacher candidates in the State of Alabama. In response to such need, there is hereby created a Professional Teachers Standards Commission (the commission) for the State of Alabama. The commission shall consist of 11 members appointed by the Governor in the following manner: The Alabama Congress of Parents and Teachers Association, Alabama School Board Association, Alabama Council for School Administration and Supervision, Alabama Education Association, and the Alabama Association of Colleges for Teacher Education shall each designate a representative that together shall form a nominating committee which shall meet at the call of the Governor and submit to him a list of 20 names to be considered for initial appointment to the commission. All such nominees shall have demonstrated experience and ability in the science of test development and administration. Such names shall be submitted to the Governor within 30 days immediately following July 23, 1991. If nominations are not received by the Governor within such 30-day period, he shall proceed to make such appointments by the various categories as described below from his own selection. The nominations shall include an appropriate number of names to ensure the selection of three practicing elementary teachers (grades kindergarten through five), one practicing middle school teacher (grades six through eight), and two practicing secondary teachers (grades nine through 12); two school administrators consisting of one school principal and one school superintendent; one member from the faculty of a teacher preparation program; and one member of a local board of education. In addition to the foregoing 10 members, the Governor shall appoint one member from his own selection, which member shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Four of the members initially appointed shall serve for three years, four shall serve for two years, and three shall serve for one year. Thereafter, the terms of all members shall be for three years. The Governor shall designate at the time of the initial appointments which members' terms shall be for one, two, or three years in duration. At the expiration of the term of any appointee, other than the Governor's discretionary appointee, the nominating committee shall recommend to the Governor at least two persons for appointment to the position created by the expired term. Vacancies occurring on the commission shall be filled from the same respective categories as described above and the replacement or reappointed member(s) of the commission shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term of his or her predecessor. The Governor may reject any name(s) submitted by the nominating committee and in such a case the Governor shall call upon the nominating committee to submit additional names for the initial appointees or additional names for the filling of any vacancy on the commission. No member of the commission shall serve more than two full terms.

(b) The Legislature recognizes that the National Teacher Examination (NTE) or some component thereof is utilized as an examination for teacher candidates in 33 states, including the majority of our surrounding southern states. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that the commission select a nationally recognized pre-certification examination such as the NTE for initial certification of teacher candidates in Alabama. The commission is directed to determine the conditions, if any, which must be satisfied for use of the NTE for the purposes set forth herein. The commission is further authorized to utilize all means necessary to comply with such conditions so as to allow usage of the NTE as an entry-level pre-certification examination for teacher candidates in Alabama, or to otherwise promote full implementation of this section.

In the event that the commission is prohibited from utilizing the NTE, its successor examination, or a component of either, for pre-certification, after exhausting all available remedies, then the commission is authorized to designate or develop a pre-certification examination. Such examination shall adhere to generally accepted test construction methodology and those test construction practices reflected in the NTE, and shall permit evaluation of functional academic skills of teacher candidates including but not limited to, reading, writing, and mathematics.

(c) Any pre-certification examination designated or developed pursuant to this section shall be administered by the commission to all teacher candidates seeking certification for the 1994-95 school year. Candidates must demonstrate required satisfactory proficiency, as determined by the commission from time to time, on such examination prior to becoming eligible to receive a certificate pursuant to this chapter; provided, however, that such satisfactory proficiency shall not be required for persons to become eligible to receive emergency certificates pursuant to Section 16-23-3. Candidates shall have only five opportunities to demonstrate the required satisfactory proficiency, and if such candidate fails to demonstrate the required satisfactory proficiency in the fifth attempt, such candidates shall not be eligible for certification in the State of Alabama.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that Alabama teacher preparation institutions support the performance of their graduates on such pre-certification examinations and such institutions shall be responsible for providing remediation without any cost to the student who has successfully completed all course requirements for the teacher preparation program but has failed the pre-certification test. The failure of any institution to comply with the provisions of this section shall be grounds upon which the institution's rights to prepare teachers may be withdrawn. It is the intent of the Legislature that upon the designation or development of a pre-certification examination for initial certification of teacher candidates, the commission shall then proceed to address the improvement of standards for teacher preparation programs. As a result of the administration of the test and to the extent fewer minorities are licensed to teach in Alabama, the commission shall develop a remedial plan which will be implemented by teacher preparation institutions.

(e) Scores from the tests required under the provisions of The Alabama Education Improvement Act of 1991 (Acts 1991, No. 91-323) shall be reported to and kept by the commission. Scores shall be given to the candidates tested. Personally identifiable scores shall not be open or made available to the public, but reports may be prepared and released by the commission with respect to overall results of scores. Reports of scores as authorized herein may be made at such frequency as the commission may deem appropriate.

(Acts 1991, No. 91-323, p. 602, §4; Acts 1993, No. 93-614, p. 1006, §§1(6), 1(7).)