American Federation of Teachers Proposes Universal Assessment for Educators

By Catherine Groux
Posted December 04, 2012 10:00 AM

The AFT is seeking to create a universal testing procedure for all teachers.
The AFT is seeking to create a universal testing procedure for all teachers.
As states across the nation strive to improve student performance through the Common Core State Standards, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is working to set higher expectations for educators as well. In a report titled "Raising the Bar," officials from the AFT stated that just as all lawyers must take the bar exam, all educators should have to pass a similar assessment in order to teach.

"Just as in professions widely recognized for having a set of rigorous professional standards, such as law or medicine, teaching must raise standards for entry into the profession through a process similar to the bar process in law or the board process in medicine," the report states.

AFT officials wrote that in recent years, there has been great debate over the quality of certain teacher education programs. Therefore, by creating a universal assessment, they could ensure that regardless of where teachers earned their bachelor's or master's degrees, they must meet AFT quality and skills standards.

Sharon P. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), told Inside Higher Ed that she would support the AFT's proposed universal teacher assessment.

"AACTE is encouraged by the vision expressed by the American Federation of Teachers," Robinson said via email. "A national 'bar' for teachers, including a teacher performance assessment, would represent the consensus of the broader professional community concerning novice teacher capabilities ... As we go forward, we look forward to working with the AFT and the full range of stakeholders in the education community to make the vision of a performance-based profession a reality."

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