About the Tests
In keeping with its goal of ensuring that Pennsylvania teacher certification candidates have the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job of an entry-level teacher in Pennsylvania public schools, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) initiated the development of a new testing program: the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT). In 2010, the PDE began collaborating with the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to deliver the PECT program, which provides teacher certification tests for prospective Pennsylvania teachers, and a Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) for candidates for admission to a state-approved Pennsylvania educator preparation program. The PECT were developed in alignment with Pennsylvania regulations and standards, including the Pennsylvania Program Framework Guidelines and the relevant Pennsylvania Academic Standards.
The development of the PECT program involved the active participation of Pennsylvania educators. By participating on content advisory committees and an equity assurance panel, they have helped validate PECT test objectives and test questions. Pennsylvania educators also responded to content validation surveys to further assess the relevance of PECT test content to the job of a Pennsylvania teacher.
The tests in the PECT program are criterion referenced and objective based. Criterion-referenced tests are designed to measure a candidate's knowledge and skills in relation to an established standard of performance (a criterion) rather than in relation to the performance of other candidates. The tests are designed to help identify those candidates who have the level of the required knowledge and expertise to teach in the Grade Band(s) for which they are seeking Pennsylvania educator certification. The PAPA is designed to help identify candidates with the required level of basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing in order to qualify for admission to a state-approved Pennsylvania educator preparation program.
The PECT are delivered as computer-based tests. Each PECT assessment includes multiple modules. Modules consist of selected-response questions and, for the PAPA Writing module, constructed-response assignments to assess candidates' knowledge and skills based on the test objectives. Each PECT module has its own set of qualifying/passing scores.