Teaching Testing Standards and the New Teacher Pipeline (with Mindy Marks and Marc Law)
This study examines the impact of changes in teacher testing standards on the pipeline of new teachers. We take advantage of a quasi-experimental change in the minimum passing score required by many states for admission into teacher training programs that occurred when the Education Testing Service replaced the Pre-Professional Standards Test (PPST) with the Praxis Core. Under the PPST individual states set their own passing scores which varied widely across states. When the Praxis Core was adopted these states set common passing scores. Using institution-level data, we find that higher testing standards are associated with a sharp reduction in enrollments in teacher training programs and that the effects are concentrated in institutions with low average SAT scores. We further document that higher entry standards reduce graduations from teacher training programs, suggesting that the increase in standards did not merely screen out students who would not have met the graduation requirements. The overall increase in standards arising from the replacement of the PPST with the Praxis Core accounts for almost half of the recent decline in graduations from teacher preparation programs.