UHV teaching students score well on certification exams

The scores are in, and they prove what University of Houston-Victoria education professors have known for a long time: Their students will make great teachers.


University of Houston-Victoria education students recently scored higher than the state average in all sections of four undergraduate teaching certificate tests and two graduate teaching certificate tests.


"These scores show that the School of Education & Human Development is doing a good job of preparing UHV students to be excellent teachers, who are so critical to the future of this country," said Suzanne LaBrecque, provost and vice president for academic affairs.


The most recent round of Texas Examinations of Educator Standards was administered in February at various locations around the state. About 75 UHV teaching candidates took the tests then. The minimum cumulative score to pass each certificate is 240 points. The data released by the state only provides average scaled scores in each section of every certification. Average cumulative scores are not provided.


UHV undergraduate teaching students scored higher than the state average in all sections of both certificates needed to teach early childhood through fourth grade in Texas and both certificates needed to teach fourth through eighth grade.


"These scores demonstrate the quality programs being offered in the School of Education and the knowledge our education students are getting from their professors," UHV President Tim Hudson said.


The largest number of UHV students took one of the two exams that must be passed to teach early childhood through fourth grade in Texas. Twenty-two took the test to receive a pedagogy and professional responsibilities certificate, which basically tests if students know how to teach. Eleven UHV students took the generalist test, which tests if students know what to teach.


UHV students' average scaled scores were up to 9.6 points higher than the state’s average scaled scores on different sections of the pedagogy and professional responsibilities test to teach early childhood through fourth grade. On the generalist test to teach the same grade levels, UHV students' average scaled scores ranged between 7.1 and 12.8 points higher than the state's average scaled scores on the different sections.


UHV's graduate education students also did well on the exams. They scored higher than the state average in all sections of both the school counselor and the educational diagnostician certificates.


"While we don’t teach to the tests, we do have classes that are designed to prepare our students to be great teachers," said Carol Klages, an associate professor and certification officer for the School of Education & Human Development. "We have the best textbooks, the best support materials and the best learning opportunities possible for our students."


One way the School of Education & Human Development helps its students score well on the certifications is the Center for Academic Excellence. The center, which has operated for about two years, provides face-to-face and online study sessions for education students to help them prepare for the teacher exams. Students receive study tips, discuss potential test questions and learn how to reduce their test anxiety. Students also can take practice state certification exams.


"The Texas state educator exams are not easy. They're challenging, and they're stressful,” said Teresa Le Sage, assistant education professor and center coordinator. "Each test is a criterion-referenced examination designed to measure the knowledge and skills to qualify an entry-level educator. The center helps students review state standards and develop the best strategies to answer the test questions."


UHV alumna Amanda Baros, who graduated in December, knows just how hard the state exams can be. She now teaches a kindergarten/first-grade class at Vickers Elementary School after passing the state certification tests in the summer and fall of last year.


Baros said her UHV education professors helped prepare her for the tests and teaching by allowing her to go into classrooms, giving her hands-on activities and being available to answer questions.


"You can call the professors at home in the evening for teaching advice if you need it," she said. "They are very interested in making sure their students do well."

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler