Ohio Assessments for Educators Replaced the Praxis II
Gaby Semaan, University of Toledo, Assistant Professor
Visitors of The Ohio Department of Education web page searching for information about educator licensing in Ohio are welcomed with the statement “Beginning Sept. 1, 2013, a new test series (Ohio Assessments for Educators), will replace the Praxis II series as the required Ohio educator licensure tests, except for world languages.”1 What the announcement does not say is that the licensing has been contracted to be provided by a private enterprise, for-profit-company, who happens to be a major player in the market of publishing academic books. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, it is something that has triggered the concerns of many educators in public universities. However, many others are unaware of such worries. Personally, the first time I heard about outsourcing this aspect of education was last spring from a friend and colleague, Dr. Linda Rouillard. Maybe I was not following up on this topic or it may have been marketed well to all higher-up administrators and the voices of those questioning it were silenced. True, the OAE has its advantages when it comes to the convenience of the computer-based assessments that licensure candidates can take at many locations and times that are convenient for them. Yet, there are many concerns regarding many aspects of such assessments including the rate of those who can pass it, its validity and reliability and the effect that for-profit providers may have on dictating education in this country.
Congratulations educators of world languages in Ohio, your assessment will continue to be provided by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). So far, you do not have to worry about what other colleagues and/or colleagues-to-be in other fields may be concerned about. However, while I am not advocating talking one side over the other, I wish for this discussion to start and continue.