Those individuals seeking to teach in the public schools in Michigan are required to take and pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). The test, constructed in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education and the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, examines the knowledge of examinees across six content areas: 1) Physical Activity, Fitness, and Health; 2) Movement and Lifelong Physical Activities; 3) Growth, Development, and Learning; 4) Planning, Instruction, and Assessment; 5) Management, Motivation and Communication; and 6) Foundations, Reflection and Professional Collaboration.
Preparing students with the knowledge and skills to pass that test covering all six categories of content with the limited time and resources programs have is an arduous task. It is not enough for students to be proficient. According to the Department of Education, they must demonstrate that they are "Highly Qualified". So Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs need to provide a series of courses that address all six categories -27 subcategories – in a cohesive plan that results in students doing well enough on the examination to be deemed "Highly Qualified" in the context of all of the other course requirements facing students every semester.
So how are we doing? Let's look across the state first! The testing year spans from July 17, 2016, through July 15, 2017. During that time, 126 students from all teacher preparation programs across Michigan took the test. This included both PETE majors and minors. Of those 126 students taking the examination, 79 students – 62.7% - scored high enough to be deemed "Highly Qualified" and pass the test. An interesting observation while still looking at the state-wide data, is that PE minors with approximately half of the number of courses for the degree necessary for a major passed the certification test at a high rate. During the 2016-2017 academic year, 57.3% of majors passed the MTTC test compared to 75.7% of minors.
The story is different for Central Michigan University students. During the 2016-2017 academic year, 85.7% of CMU candidates passed the MTTC test (compared to an average of 62.7% across the state). Those CMU candidates majoring in PETE passed the MTTC exam at a rate of 88.9%, and minors passed at a rate of 80.0%, compared to 57.3% and 75.7% across all state institutions respectively.
We are striving to make the physical education teacher preparation program at Central Michigan University the premier PETE program in the state. We still have a lot of work to do, but our students' recent performance on the state certification test attest that we are equipping our graduates with the ability to leave the program as certified teachers!