Union teachers have 100% first-time pass rate on certification exams

Published on
November 18, 2016

Educational Studies UnitTeachers educated at Union College have earned a 100% first-time percent pass rate on the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Praxis II certification exams in 2016.

Dr. Jason Reeves, Dean of Union’s Educational Studies Unit, announced the 2016 testing results last week. Dr. Reeves said 25 ESU teacher candidates took the certification exam across three different testing platforms (Elementary, Middle, and Secondary). All of the teacher candidates passed the exam on their first attempt.

“The PLT exam is an assessment of a teacher candidate’s pedagogical abilities including: best practices for curriculum and instruction, P-12 students as learners, assessment and learning outcomes for P-12 learners, knowledge of professional development strategies, and classroom leadership skills. In essence, the PLT exam tells a teacher education program if their candidates can truly “teach” their content. These results show that ESU candidates who graduated in the last year are of excellent quality. In fact, all of these graduates are currently working in P-12 school settings across the state,” Dr. Reeves said.

Dr. Reeves added, “It is extraordinarily rare that all teacher candidates in all certification program offered by a teacher education program earn a 100% first time passage rate on the PLT.  The success of our candidates to do so is due in large part to our candidate’s diligence in preparing for the exam and the dedication of ESU faculty and staff who have made PLT preparation of candidates a personal goal”. 

In addition to a 100% first-time passage rate, ESU teacher candidates also excelled in benchmark areas for the PLT exam. For the Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (grades K-6), nine teachers took the exam. The passing score for the exam is 160. The median score for Union teachers was 174. On the second exam, Principles of Learning to Teach (grades 5-9), 10 teachers combined for a median score of 173, again well above the pass rate of 160. On the final exam, Principles of Learning to Teach (grades 7-12), six teachers bested the passing rate of 160 with a median test score of 180. Dr. Reeves said the certification exams are a requirement for all teachers in the state of Kentucky.

“This clearly shows that Union’s ability to produce quality teachers extends well beyond the classrooms we have here on campus,” Dr. Reeves said. “The teachers graduating from Union are among the best in the state and their knowledge and work ethic will carry over into their own classrooms for years to come.”

In the last two years, Union’s Educational Studies Unit has been granted national accreditation, in addition to having state accreditation reaffirmed. That landmark achievement will allow Union educated teachers to gain certification to teach in any state in the country. Early in 2015, the program was also recognized by the Kentucky Center for Education as being among the top post-secondary institutions in the state for preparing teachers for the workforce. That report reflected that Union was 4th in the state in teacher preparation and that 83 percent of Union educated teachers retained employment beyond five years, compared to a 75 percent rate statewide.

The Educational Studies Unit at Union offers initial teaching licensure programs in the concentrations of elementary, middle, secondary education, health and physical education. The program also offers advanced graduate programs, including online components, in several program emphasis areas for its Teacher Leader Master’s Degree and Rank I program. To learn more about Union College’s Educational Studies Unit, visit www.unionky.edu/education