Division of Legislative Audit
Audit Digest #45-30045-07
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|A Special Report on the University of Alaska, Fairbanks – School of Education, Selected Issues, August 16, 2007.
PURPOSE OF THE REPORT
In accordance with Title 24 of the Alaska Statutes and a special request by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, we have conducted a performance audit of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks – School of Education (SOE). The primary objective of our audit was to determine if the University of Alaska, Fairbanks – School of Education is consistently applying admittance requirements for the school’s teaching programs. The secondary objective was to confirm students of the undergraduate student teaching program have all passed the competency examinations – Praxis I prior to graduation.
Beginning in July 1998, state law required applicants for teaching certificates to pass competency examinations. The examinations eventually incorporated into state regulations were a group of tests referred to collectively as Praxis I.
The Praxis Series is administered by, and is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS provides the Praxis Series examinations to states to be used as part of their teacher licensing process. Praxis I is a series of tests that assess academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. Praxis II essentially assesses subject-specific knowledge.
To help ensure that students would meet the standards for obtaining a state teaching certificate, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks – SOE made passing Praxis I an admission requirement for its student teaching programs. SOE’s teaching programs involve both instructional study and classroom teaching work in a school district setting.
Starting with spring 1999 admission cycle for the 1999-2000 school year, undergraduate applicants were admitted into SOE’s teaching program with the provision they pass Praxis I before starting work in school classrooms. In spring 2004, SOE began to require undergraduate applicants to submit their passing Praxis I scores with their application for admission.
We concluded that SOE consistently followed its admission requirements; and, since the implementation of Praxis I at SOE, all but one graduate of the degreed teaching program required to pass the competency examinations did so. These conclusions are discussed further as follows:
SOE has consistently followed its admission requirements for its student teaching programs
For the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years, SOE consistently followed its admission requirements for its various student teaching programs. All admitted applicants submitted the required admission documents; admitted faculty reviews were completed; and, all admitted applicants passed Praxis I.
With one exception, graduates of the degreed teaching program passed the competency exams when required by the SOE
In our review of the 229 graduates of the student teaching degree program since the 1999-2000 school year, we identified 17 graduates that did so without passing Praxis I. Fifteen graduates were not required to pass the competency examinations because their SOE admittance date was prior to the implementation of the Praxis requirement. One graduate was not required to pass the tests because she was a transfer student who already had student teaching credits. The last graduate in question was required to pass Praxis I but did not do so. Except for the one error that occurred during the implementation year of Praxis, graduates of the degreed teaching program have passed competency exams when required by SOE.
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