Friday, May 29, 2015

NYSED Content Specialty Tests and the Redeveloped CST Safety Net

        This series of blogposts examined NYSTCE tests, including the ALST, EAS, edTPA, and now the Content Specialty Tests (CSTs).  The explicit purpose of the NYSTCE tests is to help identify for certification teacher candidates that demonstrated the appropriate level of knowledge and skills considered important for performing the responsibilities of an educator in New York State public schools.  As such, the NYSTCE tests collectively serve as trailing indicators of success whereby teacher candidates demonstrate the appropriate level of knowledge and skills for performing the responsibilities of a beginning teacher. 
               In order to qualify for an early childhood or childhood education certificate, the teacher candidate must take the Multi-Subject CST, regardless of his or her major.  For the redeveloped CSTs that initially became operational in September 2014, the NYSED Board of Regents created a safety net provision.  Teacher candidates who are applying for the Students with Disabilities-Grades 7-12 - Generalist certificate are required to take and pass the newly developed Multi-Subject: Secondary Teachers (Grade 7– Grade 12) CST.  There will be no safety net for the Multi-Subject: Secondary Teachers (Grade 7– Grade 12) CST. 
            Preparation and practice guides are available for all NYSTCE tests.  The guides contain complete content outlines for tests, sample test questions, and general advice on how to prepare for the tests.  These guides are available free of charge at the NYSTCE web site:
            NYSED provides digital access to the Content Specialty Tests (CSTs) design and framework documents.  These framework documents reveal the content and format of the CSTs.  The CST Multi-Subject tests all include three parts.  Teacher Candidates may register to take either one part during a specific test appointment or register and take all three parts during a single test appointment.  Although there are four distinct Multi-Subject tests based on the four specific grade levels, each Multi-Subject test has three parts.  Part Three is shared by all four Multi-Subject tests.  Thus, a teacher candidate seeking more than one Multi-Subject certificate will only need to pass Part Three once.
            Digital information on the five most accessed CSTs follow:

            Teacher candidates who take and fail one of the eligible redeveloped CSTs listed below will have the option of taking the corresponding predecessor CST (the Safety Net CST) in lieu of retaking the redeveloped CST.  However, the redeveloped CST must be first be taken and failed.  Teacher candidates who take a Safety Net CST without first taking the corresponding redeveloped CST may not use that Safety Net CST for certification purposes.  In such an instance, the teacher candidate will have to retake the Safety Net CST after receiving a failing score on the redeveloped CST.  Teacher candidates taking a redeveloped CST with multiple parts must take and submit all parts of the redeveloped CST, but need only fail one part of the three-part assessment to be eligible for the safety net.
“The following CSTs will be covered by provisions of the Redeveloped CST Safety Net:
Agriculture Library Media Specialist
Business and Marketing Literacy
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Mathematics
Educational Technology Specialist Multi-Subject: Teachers of Early Childhood (Birth – Grade 2)
English Language Arts Multi-Subject: Teachers of Childhood (Grade 1 – Grade 6)
Family and Consumer Sciences Multi-Subject: Teachers of Middle Childhood (Grade 5 – Grade 9)
Gifted Education Physical Education
Health Education Students with Disabilities” (D’Agati, 2015).
            Consistent with the Redeveloped CSTs, the Safety Net CSTs will also be computer based.  Pearson plans to offer the Safety Net CSTs beginning in July 2015.  The Safety Net CSTs will be effective through June 30, 2016.  When necessary, teacher candidates may exercise multiple safety nets to meet the requirements for certification.  They will have until June 30, 2017, to meet all other certification requirements.  Registration and payment for the Safety Net CST will be offered through the NYSTCE website
            The diversity of assessed skills and the use of multiple modalities to evaluate the teacher candidate’s professional readiness increase the integrity of the NYSTCE tests.  The NYSED Board of Regents creation of a safety net provision mitigates perception of unfairness.  The safety net provides additional time and opportunity for programs to align their curricula and implements reforms to optimize essential skill development.  NYSED Deputy Assistant Commissioner D’Agati (May 28, 2015) emphasized the need for teacher preparation programs to encourage teacher candidates to make their very best effort with NYSTCE tests.  Potential employers will have access to the teacher candidate’s pass/fail data through the TEACH system.

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (May 29, 2015) NYSED Content Specialty Tests and the Redeveloped CST Safety Net
                    [Web log post] Retrieved from