PECT Study Guide

About the Program

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) began collaborating with the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to deliver the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) program, which provides teacher certification tests for prospective Pennsylvania educators. The tests were first administered in April 2012.

About the Tests

The PECT were developed in alignment with Pennsylvania regulations and content standards for teachers. The PECT program is composed of the following tests:

The ongoing development of the PECT program has 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 items. Pennsylvania educators also responded to content validation surveys to further assess the relevance of PECT test content to the job of a Pennsylvania educator.

The PECT are delivered as computer-based tests (CBTs). Each test includes multiple modules, each with its own set of qualifying/passing scores. All tests include selected-response questions, and the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment also includes written constructed-response assignments. The available testing time ranges between 2 and 3.5 hours for a full battery (i.e., all modules for a particular test), and between 45 and 90 minutes for an individual module, depending on the number and type(s) of items on the test or module. There will be a 15-minute tutorial on computer-based testing prior to each test, which is not counted as part of the testing time. Examinees who take a full battery will also have a 15-minute break between modules, which is not counted as part of the testing time.

The Test Development Process

Creating the PECT program is a complex, ongoing process. The major steps in the process are outlined below.

Task Description
Develop the Test Objectives The content of each PECT assessment is documented in the test objectives. The test objectives consist of test subareas that each include a set of objectives, along with a set of descriptive statements that further elaborate the content of each test objective. During preparation of the test objectives, key state and national documents were consulted. Committees of Pennsylvania educators reviewed the test objectives and made revisions, as necessary, to ensure that the test objectives were accurate, free of bias, job related, and important for the job of an entry-level teacher in Pennsylvania.
Validate Test Content A content validation survey was conducted using sampled practicing Pennsylvania educators and teacher preparation program faculty to ensure that the test objectives reflect the knowledge and skills considered to be important for performing the job of a teacher in Pennsylvania.
Develop Test Items Next, test items were developed to assess the content defined by the test objectives. Committees of Pennsylvania educators were convened to review and approve the test items. Students preparing to teach at the appropriate authorization levels participated in field tests of the items at sites throughout Pennsylvania.
Set Qualifying/Passing Scores A panel of Pennsylvania educators convened to make recommendations to the Pennsylvania Department of Education that were used to establish the qualifying/passing score for each PECT test module. The final qualifying/passing scores were determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.