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Passing the NTE: A Classification of State Requirements and Passing Rates, by Ethnicity NTE

DeMauro, Gerald E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cutting Scores, Ethnic Groups, Licensing Examinations Professions, National Teacher Examinations (NTE), State Standards


It is difficult to estimate the percentage of examinees who "pass" NTE tests because the many users of the tests not only require examinees to pass different combinations of tests, but also use different passing scores for each of the tests. Earlier studies (e.g., Goertz and Pitcher, 1985) computed passing rates for individual tests by applying specific passing scores to national distributions of examinees. However, none of these studies computed the percentage of examinees who passed all the NTE tests required for any state. This study first develops a taxonomy of state NTE requirements. The passing rates for each type of state requirement are then computed both for the examinee group that is impacted by the requirement and for each self-identified ethnic group. For example, one type of requirement is found in states that require teacher certification candidates to pass all three Core Battery tests and the Specialty Area test most relevant to their area of interest. For this type of requirement, the percentage of examinees who pass each test is computed as well as the percentage of examinees who pass all of the required tests. These percentages are computed for all examinees who sent their scores to states of this type and separately for the self-identified Black, Hispanic, "Other," Unknown, and White examinees in this group. Results show considerable variation in passing rates depending on types of requirements and passing scores, and variation in ethnic differences in passing rates. The ratio of percentages of self-identified Black examinees who pass each requirement to percentages of self- identified White examinees who pass each requirement is related to both the passing scores used and the particular group of required tests. The study provides a methodology and data base for further research in this area, and raises important policy issues for consideration. (68pp.)

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