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February/March, 2014 PDE UPDATES

Candidates eligible to earn a Special Education Certification: The appropriate content certificates for Special Education PK-8 and 7-12 can be found in the Special Education Program Guidelines. “The Special Education PreK-8 and the Special Education 7-12 certificates are combined with certification in PreK-8, 4-8, a secondary (7-12) subject area, or a Reading Specialist.” This list was expanded in the accelerated certification program guidelines to include K-6 and n-3 certifications. The K-12 certificates were not included because of a legal interpretation that the regulations do not include K-12 certificates.

The purpose of the Chapter 49 Dual Certification Requirement is to ensure that the appropriate program for Special Education prepare candidates that are highly qualified in the subject arrears delineated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). High education programs should understand the above legal requirements for special education in order not to deny a certificate to an n-12 certificate holder.

Alternate means to meet the SAT/ACT Basic Skills Requirement: Effective 2/1/2013 students may meet the basic skills requirement by using individual section test scores from different sittings for a total composite score of no less than 1550 on the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) with a minimum of 500 score in each individual test section (Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics).

For the American College Test Plus Writing, a composite score of 23 must include a combined English/Writing score of 22 and a minimum Mathematics score of 21.

Students who meet either of the above requirements shall be except from the PAPA exam.  Those who don’t meet these requirements must take and pass the PAPA exam.

Reporting SAT/ACT scores:  two acceptable ways to report SAT/ACT scores to PDE are:

  • Applicants submit the score in a sealed envelope from test vendor with TIMS application coversheet directly to the Division of Certification services.
  • The preparation program (College or university) may submit applicant’s SAT/ACT score through TIMS
  • Scores may also be verified by the PA- approved teacher preparation programs through TIMS.

PEARSON Score Report Code Changes: Effective 2/28/2014, the status for candidates for PreK-4 or Special Education test will be reported as follows-

  • A series status of “Passed” indicates a scaled score of 220 or higher on all test modules that make up the assessment
  • A series status of “Not Yet Passed” indicates the candidate has not yet achieved a scaled score of 220 or higher on all test modules that make up the assessment
  • A series status of “incomplete” indicates candidate has not yet taken all modules that make up the assessment.

Test codes for PECT score reports: There will be a change from 3 digits to 4 digits to match the designations in PDE documentation and TIMS. Pearson added the number 8 as the first number in the test code.  See below example.

Test Module                       Old Test Code   New Test Code
PAPA – Module 1: Reading            001                  8001

 PDE Updates

(January 2014) PDE Program Update – PAPA and PreK-4 Test Design Change

(December 2013) Updates from Division of Professional Education and Teacher Quality, PDE

Pennsylvania Educator Certification Test (PECT) 

Visit the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests website to find out information on the tests required for PA Teacher Certification for PreK-4th grade.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Test (PECT) covers PreK-4.

  • The PECT/Pearson phone number for questions is 413.256.2886 or 800.877.4591. (Please note, they will ONLY answer PreK-4 Questions)
    Available 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday–Friday.
  • The PRAXIS tests, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at www.ets.org will be used for:
    Pennsylvania Grades 4-8: Core Assessment, Core Assessment Pedagogy, Core Assessment English Language Arts and Social Studies, Core Assessment Mathematics and Science (5152),
    PLUS the concentration area modules:
    o Subject Concentration English Language Arts (5156)
    o Subject Concentration Social Studies (5157)
    o Subject Concentration Mathematics (5158)
    o Subject Concentration Science (5159)
  • CLICK HERE for a document that provides additional information concerning Certification in Pennsylvania. 

Early Learning Research

  • A Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States
    Child Trends and the McCormick Foundation have published a report, The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States (November 2013) that provides a comprehensive indicators-based portrait of the approximately 12 million infants and toddlers in America. It includes basic demographic data on these young children, including information about their health and well-being, and the well-being of their parents. The authors present observations about the composite portrait drawn and identify some common threads in the data. Some key findings show that:
    • Many infants and toddlers in America today are starting out with severe economic hardship.
    • There are considerable inequities marked by income and race/ethnicity and these inequities are often compounded by fragile family situations.
    • The majority of mothers of infants and toddlers are working.
    • Parental leave, high-quality child care, and access to early intervention services are out of reach for many families raising infants and toddlers.  
  • Understanding How Infants Acquire New Words Across Cultures: While there are some universals in the earliest stages of language acquisition, recent studies show that infants learning different languages may actually acquire words in different ways. Read more
  • Babies Learn to Aim Tools by Banging Toys: Babies have a natural proclivity for banging, but what may seem like haphazard movements—and a lot of noise—may actually offer hints to how humans learn to use tools. Tool use develops gradually, beginning in infancy when banging is uncoordinated through early toddlerhood when it is more precise and efficient, new research suggests. Read more
  • Babies Use Body Map in Brain: Babies often observe others demonstrate how to do things and then copy those body movements. It’s how little ones know, usually without explicit instructions, to hold a toy phone to the ear or guide a spoon to the mouth. The findings, published online in PLOS ONE, are the first to show that babies’ brains showed specific activation patterns when an adult performed a task with different parts of her body. Read more
  • More than Baby Talk: 10 Ways to Promote Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers: Researchers at Frank Porter Graham (FPG), University of North Carolina asset that early childhood educators hold the key to young children’s language and communication skills development.  During the early years of life children’s brains develop fast and lay the foundation for learning in the first years and success later in school and life.  According to Nicole Gardiner Neblett and Kathleen Gallagher, early childhood education professionals have a crucial opportunity to provide young children with high quality language positive interactions that can support children’s language and communication skills development. The Frank Porter Graham team further assets that both early educators, parents and family members can foster children’s language and communication skills development by providing “children with rich language exposure and opportunities children need to enhance their language and communication skills and helping children succeed in preschool and beyond.” More information about the above research and strategies to promote language and communication skills development in young children can be accessed at http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu.

  • Positive Development of Young Minority Children: The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) has issued a two-page policy brief, Highlighting the Positive Development of Minority Children (October 2013). The brief summarizes facts and findings from research that underscore the critical importance of focusing on and also learning more about the positive development, adaptation and adjustment of young minority children, instead of concentrating mostly on adversity, deficit and maladjustment. It states that a focus on adversity of young minority children and their families have unintended consequences of drawing attention from the strengths and assets that minority families bring to raising healthy children. The SCRD brief also summarizes a 2013 Social Policy Report, Positive Development of Minority Children, by Natasha Cabrera and the SRCD Ethnic and Racial Issues Committee.

  • Cultural, Linguistic and Ability Diversity (CLAD): Evidence-Based Approaches to Building Quality for Diverse Young Learners in State Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). In the 2011 Early Learning Challenge/Race to the Top application criteria made numerous references to the need to emphasize responsiveness to effectively serving children who are culturally, linguistically and ability diverse CLAD) and their families as well as the importance of integrating this into all components of a tiered quality rating and improvement system. Pennsylvania responded to BUILD invitation to apply for a technical assistance grant that focused on building greater cultural and linguistic and ability competence into a QRIS; and participated in a six month long web-based interactive professional development aimed at using CLAD lens to examine States’ current practices in relation to all components of their QRIS, identify gaps and use the new knowledge and resources provided to support change and improvements in their practices.

    As a result of Pennsylvania’s participation in the BUILD Learning Table, the PA team developed a Diversity Framework with accompanying documents covering cultural diversity, linguistic diversity/ linguistic competence and ability diversity. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning and the Pennsylvania Key encourage all its partners, including the higher education community, to use the Diversity Framework in its organization and institutional practices, course offerings and its work with children and families. Click here to access and download the PA learning Table team’s work and the Office of Child Development & Early Learning approved Diversity Framework.

    The Office of Head Start, National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness has published a series of briefs, Importance of Home Language Series (February 2013). The series, available in English and Spanish, provides early care and education program staff and families with easy to read information on topics related to:

    • children learning two or more languages
    • the benefits of being fully bilingual
    • the importance of maintaining children’s home language.

    Click HERE to access and download the series.

  • Young Immigrant Children, the Immigrant Paradox and Academic Success (July 15, 2013, Learning the Language Blog)
  • WEBINAR ON PROGRAM QUALITY ASSESSMENT: This webinar provides an overview of the program quality assessment instruments used in Pennsylvania’s quality improvement initiatives including the Environment Rating Scales (ERS), Program Administration Scale (PAS), and Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). The webinar includes among other things: a review of resources that support the use of the Environment Rating Scales, the PA Position Statements, Notes for Clarification, and PA Keys website articles and links; ECERS-3 and a new scoring system for the ECERS-R, the Virtual Subscales. Click this link to listen to the webinar recording.


Higher Education Early Learning E-LEarning newsletter 

The Higher Education, Early Learning Updates Newsletter for the higher education community aims to: 

  • Enhance communication between the higher education community, Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key
  • Provide the higher education community with important early learning initiative updates from OCDEL and the PA Key
  • Provide valuable information for use in work with early care and education students. 

Early learning updates will be published three times a year: in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Feedback on this e-newsletter and suggestions for future featured information are welcome and should be sent to Higher Education at PA Key

Higher Education, Early Learning Updates Newsletter

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