Illinois lawmakers to consider new teacher testing methods

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Two bills are pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would pause or permanently eliminate a basic skills test for new teachers that some officials say has contributed to a statewide educator shortage.

The State Journal-Register reports that starting June 30, the Illinois State Board of Education will put the Test of Academic Proficiency on hold as the agency considers alternative solutions to evaluate prospective teachers. The current test has a 25% pass rate.

A lobbyist for the state Board of Education says the agency has taken an impartial position on the bills.

Sponsor Rep. Sue Scherer says her bill would halt testing until 2025. Scherer says people of color are at a disadvantage because the basic skills exam doesn't factor in life experiences or cultural differences.