AACTE Releases Report on the Use and Impact of Entrance and Exit Exams in Teacher Preparation

AACTE and the Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments

October 2021

The Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education has released its first report, The History, Current Use, and Impact of Entrance and Licensure Examinations Cut Scores on the Teacher of Color Pipeline: A Structural Racism Analysis. The CREA project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, engages 14 states in examining their cut score setting process for entrance examinations into teacher preparation programs. The recent report chronicles the history of teacher preparation entrance and exit assessments and their impact on the diversity of candidates pursuing teaching as a profession.

The report’s author, Leslie T. Fenwick, AACTE dean in residence (who is also a former School of Education dean), discusses in detail the intentional misuse of entrance licensure examinations after the Brown v. Board of Education (BOE) decision in 1954. According to Fenwick, there is a little-known history associated with how licensure examinations were created after Brown to block integration of Black teachers into desegregating schools:

“Few people know that in the 17 states that operated segregated schools prior to the Brown decision, Black teachers were more likely to hold teacher certification and had higher levels of certification than their White peers. This changed after Brown, when states and test-makers collaborated to create new licensure exams purposefully designed to eliminate Black men and women from the profession and from the prospect of teaching White children. In fact, in some states when this plan backfired (with more Black teachers passing the tests than Whites), states dropped those tests and created new ones. This troublesome history is an example of how structural racism impacted (and continues to impact) the teacher of color pipeline.”