Zay says Indiana to adopt new teacher licensing exams by 2021

State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) has announced that Indiana is projected to adopt new teacher licensing exams by Sept. 1, 2021.

In recent years, teaching candidates have struggled to pass the state-created licensing exams, which has kept potentially strong teaching candidates from entering the classroom, and in some cases has caused them to leave the Hoosier state altogether.

Zay says after years of consistently low passage rates — with some content areas having passage rates well below 50 percent — lawmakers and others began to question the test’s accuracy.

In 2018, Zay authored Senate Enrolled Act 387, which required the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for new educator licensing exams that also included preparation resources for teaching candidates.

During the 2019 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1002, which incorporated language from Senate Bill 532, co-authored by Zay, requiring the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) to select existing national teacher licensing exams to replace Indiana’s current licensing exams by July 1, 2020. These extant exams were one of the winners of the RFP that resulted from SEA 387.
“Using a national exam, as opposed to a state-specific exam, will give the state a better idea of how Indiana teaching candidates are performing on their licensure exams,” Zay said. “The more people that take an exam, the more data there is to compare. These new exams can help retain talent and help minimize teacher reciprocity issues.”

The SBOE recently voted to allow the DOE to contract with Educational Testing Services to bring back the state’s former teacher licensing exam, Praxis, which a vast majority of states across the country utilize.

Zay says once in effect, national exams could save the state money, since national exams do not have to be precisely tailored to Indiana standards.