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State education leaders discuss teacher assessment program

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By WDTV

State education leaders came together on Monday to learn more about a program West Virginia might adopt to make sure teachers in training are ready for the classroom.

The program is called edTPA. It focuses on how prepared a novice teacher is to give lessons involving elementary literacy.

Monday's meeting was held at WVU and education leaders from all areas of the state were in attendance. Stanford helped create the program and officials are saying 33 states are currently using it.

It involves a test for prospective teachers that analyzes how they're incorporating literacy into all of their subjects. West Virginia recently began putting tougher standards for teachers and students in place which is why the State Board of Education is looking for a program to make sure teachers are up to speed.

West Virginia State Board of Education President Gayle Manchin said, "We brought in a much more rigorous level of standards, we're asking our teachers to teach differently, and we're assessing our students differently."

Many people had questions about the program on Monday. It appears not everyone is sold on edTPA at this point in time. An education expert at WVU said hesitation is common when there's talk of implementing new teaching standards.

WVU Education and Human Resources professor Dr. Malayna Bernstein said, "This is a common concern anytime you take teacher education programs that are really focused on the specific needs of their prospective teachers, teacher candidates, as well as the students."

There's no timeline for a decision on whether or not edTPA will be implemented, but education officials claim it's likely some sort of assessment is used in the near future.