A bill in the state Assembly would delay for one year a requirement that would-be teachers pass a new video-based exam before certification.
College education programs and students have expressed great concern that they have not been given enough time to prepare for the test, which the state Education Department sees as a "bar-like" exam for teachers.
As of May 1, college students will not be eligible for certification unless they pass the exam, known as the edTPA for "education teacher performance assessment." But a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, chair of the Assembly Higher Education Commitee, would delay the requirement until July 1, 2015.
"I don't believe there has been sufficient time for educators in these college programs to be sure they are giving students adequate information," Glick said.
Glick said she expects a companion bill to be sponsored soon in the state Senate. She is planning to hold a hearing on the test within weeks.
The exam asks that college students, while doing their student teaching, prepare lessons aligned to the Common Core standards and then use video to show their instruction and to assess pupils. They also have to write 30 pages of answers to questions linked to the Common Core.
Many college students are doing their student teaching now.
State education officials say college programs have known the test was coming for several years. But Glick said the Education Department did not finalize requirements until 2013.
Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman noted that the test was already delayed a year.
"Right now, the passage rate on the exam is 80 percent and the (state Board of) Regents have committed to discuss a possible safety-net option for students who have not passed the exam when they meet later this month," he said. "It is our strong hope that we will be able to keep the bar high, now and going forward."
Stanford University created the edTPA and chose Pearson Inc. to administer and grade the exam.
Glick said she was concerned about student teachers needing to get parental permission to video youngsters in classrooms, a potential delay.
"Parents are more and more concerned about protecting their children's privacy," she said.
It is also unclear, she said, what will happen if a student fails the edTPA but has finished his or her student teaching and does not have enough video to retake the exam.
"It hasn't been thought out," she said. "It seems the state Education Department, whether on this issue or K-12 testing, has been intransigent and disconnected from people's lives."
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, who co-sponsored the bill, urged her colleagues last month to delay the new test.
"Not doing so will leave thousands of students, despite having earned a teaching degree, unable to become actual teachers," she wrote to the Board of Regents.
Christine Clayton, chair of the Education Department at Pace University's Pleasantville campus, said a delay would help college programs better prepare students. But she hopes the state will consider other changes, such as making the exam part of college programs rather than a certification requirement.
"That would make a world of difference in how this assessment affects the student teaching experience," she said.
Thirty five states are using the exam. Only two, New York and Washington, made it an immediate requirement for certification.