With Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature on June 25, 2020, House File 2359 became law, essentially making a pre-professionals skills test for teacher education programs in Iowa voluntary, not mandatory. In response, the UNI Teacher Education Executive Council recommended the UNI Teacher Education Program no longer require the Praxis Core exam. The UNI Teacher Education Elementary and Secondary Faculty Senates concurred.
Q. What does this mean for students seeking admission to the UNI Teacher Education Program, particularly those whose studies were disrupted by COVID-19?
The short answer: if students were planning or scheduled to take the Praxis Core exam as of July 1, 2020, or later, they no longer need to do so.
- Due to the disruption of COVID-19, students were able to register for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 classes that required the Praxis Core (and admission to the UNI Teacher Education Program), but no longer need to “make up” or take the exam.
- As testing options have become available, students were already scheduled to take or re-take the exam on July 1 or after, they no longer need to do so. They can contact Educational Testing Services (ETS) to request a refund of the registration fee.
- Students were looking ahead toward seeking admission to the UNI Teacher Education Program this fall or beyond, they no longer need to take the Praxis Core exam.
Q. What steps are being taken to ensure this change is reflected in records and materials?
The Office of Teacher Education will reach out as necessary to make this change recognized within our systems, including UNITED, as well as our program communications. If faculty or staff have any updates to make within a student’s record to confirm their status, please do so.
Q. Wasn’t the Praxis Core exam intended to ensure quality, prepared teacher education candidates?
The Praxis Core exam was one of several requirements for admission to the UNI Teacher Education Program. The leadership and faculty of our program believe in the rigorous, quality preparation and assessment that leads to admission. The lifting of this requirement provides the opportunity to shift our focus toward greater access to the profession of teaching.
Q. Was this change made due to requirements being temporarily suspended in response to the pandemic of COVID-19?
While the current crisis might have contributed to lawmakers’ final vote, this bill has been in development pre-COVID-19. For years, legislators recognized the barriers the exam created for some who otherwise would pursue a career in teaching. The bill passed unanimously in both the Iowa House and Senate.