Teacher Certification Programs
Students who wish to teach are required to pass several portions of the PRAXIS examination in order to obtain certification in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or other states. Therefore high pass rates on this examination are a stated objective and high priority of the Department of Education at RMU.
Although the Department is generally pleased with the pass rates that its students have achieved on the PRAXIS examination, it is always interested in supporting its teaching candidates and doing its utmost to secure their success on the examination. Education students at RMU have the most comprehensive assessment program and among the most stringent entry requirements of any academic major at the University. Once admitted, they also receive extensive support to help them surmount the many statutory requirements imposed upon persons who wish to enter the teaching profession.
The PRAXIS examinations have several components. Everyone seeking teaching certification is required to pass the PRAXIS I examination which covers reading, writing and mathematics. Effective Fall 2003, all candidates for this examination are required to take a four hour review session prior to the test date. Students who wish to obtain certification to teach in subject areas (English, Mathematics, Social Studies, etc.) must also pass the relevant PRAXIS II examination. Review sessions for these tests also began to be implemented in Fall 2003.
The Department also surveys its alumni, teachers who supervise its student teachers, employers of its graduates and its current students in order to gauge the quality of its graduates.
One specific example where assessment data guided curricular improvement was in regard to the English teacher certification program. Students in this track were achieving unacceptably low PRAXIS II examination scores. An examination of the test content revealed that RMU's English curriculum did not cover much of the material included on the PRAXIS examination. The faculty and administrations of the School of Education and the Department of English and Communications Studies worked cooperatively to examine the syllabi and curriculum of RMU's English courses and to recommend necessary changes since most of RMU's English majors are seeking teaching certification. A redesigned curriculum was implemented in fall 2005 and PRAXIS II scores in this track have significantly improved since then.