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College of Education and Human Sciences

USM COVID-19 TEACHER EDUCATION FAQs

Mississippi Traditional Education Preparation Program Entry 

Question: My ACT and/or PRAXIS test was cancelled because the testing center was closed. Will I be able to get into a teacher education program at the University of Southern Mississippi?  

Answer: ETS is providing free rescheduling for any previously scheduled exam because of all the closures. You may plan a reschedule date if you desire. However, the Mississippi Board of Education has suspended all entrance and licensure testing requirements including ACT, PRAXIS CORE, PRAXIS Content, PLT, and Foundations of Reading for all applications submitted on or before December 31, 2021. 

Question: I’ve taken the ACT and/or PRAXIS before and did not make a high enough score to get into a teacher education program at the University of Southern Mississippi? Can I be admitted now? 

Answer: The Mississippi Board of Education has suspended all entrance and licensure testing requirements including ACT, PRAXIS CORE, PRAXIS Content, PLT, and Foundations of Reading for all applications submitted on or before December 31, 2021. This ruling applies whether there are previous test scores which are too low on file or not. 

Question: Do I still have to have a 2.75 GPA on my pre-major coursework? 

Answer: Yes. The ruling by the Mississippi Board of Education suspended ONLY entrance and licensure testing requirements. All other requirements are still in place. 

 

Mississippi Nontraditional (Alternate Route) Educator Preparation Program Entry

Question: Has the Mississippi Department of Education addressed entry into alternate route licensure programs since all of the testing centers are closed? 

Answer: The Mississippi Board of Education has suspended all entrance testing requirements including ACT, PRAXIS CORE, and PRAXIS Subject Area Assessment (Praxis II) for alternate route licensure programs. You can be admitted into a nontraditional (alternate route) program and can earn licensure without the ACT, Praxis Core, and/or Praxis Subject Area Assessment (Praxis II) as long as the Mississippi Department of Education receives your licensure application before December 31, 2021. Applicants will have to choose one of the following three options for demonstrating content mastery: 

Option 1: Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in the endorsement area in which licensure is sought. 

Option 2: Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in any area and 18 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate level coursework with a grade of “C” or higher in the endorsement area sought. 

Option 3: Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in any area and have a passing score on the appropriate Praxis Subject Area Assessment (PRAXIS II). 

Question: Since the testing required for entry into a nontraditional (alternate route) licensure program has been suspended, what are the new admissions requirements?  

Answer: You will still need to complete an online application through USM’s Graduate School. Within that application, you will need to provide transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally/nationally accredited institution with a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours. You will also declare the subject area(s) you are eligible to teach: 18 hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework in the subject area with a grade of “C” or higher or a passing Praxis Subject Area Assessment (Praxis II) in the subject area will be required.  

 

Student Teaching 

Question: My praxis test is scheduled for the first week of April, but all test centers are closed until April 15th. ETS gave me a link to reschedule my tests for free. Should I wait to reschedule just in case this virus continues, or should I go ahead and reschedule? I need the scores to graduate, but at this point I don’t know what to do. 

Answer: ETS is providing free rescheduling for any previously scheduled exam because of all the closures. You may plan a reschedule date if you desire. However, the Mississippi Board of Education has suspended all entrance and licensure testing requirements including ACT, PRAXIS CORE, PRAXIS Content, PLT, and Foundations of Reading for all applications submitted on or before December 31, 2021. 

Question: Has the Mississippi Department of Education addressed student teaching requirements?  

Answer: The Mississippi Department of Education has suspended the requirement of 12 weeks of student teaching in a school setting for candidates who are student teaching in spring 2020. MDE will take into consideration the number of days already completed as well as any virtual experiences of candidates. You will be receiving from your University Supervisor, if you haven’t already, amended portfolio assignments, amended rubrics, and an amended Second Experience Grade Sheet. Contact Dr. Sylvest (anne.sylvest@usm.edu) if you have any additional questions about requirements to successfully complete student teaching this semester.  

Question: If schools remain closed, what type of work will I be expected to do for student teaching?  

Answer: For now, please stay in communication with your University Supervisor and your mentor teacher. If you are assigned tasks (e.g., online researching of lessons, calling students to check on them, helping develop actual packets of work for students, etc.), please keep a log of your time and a brief description of what you are doing. Also, if you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors—and you are doing any type of “teacher things” with them, keep a record of that time and type of interaction.  The Student Teaching Activity Log will be one of the assignments required by all University Supervisors for their student teachers completing second experience.  Your University Supervisor will be communicating with you about all alternate assignments that are to be completed and submitted in Tk20 including the Student Teaching Activity Log. 

Question: Am I still required to be in student teaching for 60 days to obtain my teaching license from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE)?  

Answer: The Mississippi Department of Education has suspended the requirement of 12 weeks of student teaching in a school setting for candidates who are student teaching in spring 2020. MDE will take into consideration the number of days already completed as well as any virtual experiences of candidates. The virtual experiences and subsequent assignments have been detailed by your University Supervisor.  All portfolio assignments are to be submitted on Tk20. If you have any additional questions about meeting student teaching obligations for the spring 2020 semester, please contact Dr. Sylvest (anne.sylvest@usm.edu).  

Question: What do we need to do as far as the online assignments for the second experience? The reason I ask is because most of the assignments require information that we would receive while student teaching.  

Answer: Your University Supervisor will contact you regarding the specific requirements for your second student teaching experience including altered assignments with instructions, rubrics, and an updated Second Experience Grade Sheet. You are not required to submit any work for your second experience until your University Supervisor has contacted you. However, please note that you should be logging any work you may be doing with your mentor teacher.   

Question: What does the change in testing requirements mean for student teachers? 

Answer: The requirement for student teachers to take the Praxis Content, PLT, and/or Foundations of Reading Test has been suspended through December 31, 2021. Student teachers will be eligible for the five-year teaching license without reporting any of these scores. Student teachers who have already taken any, or all, of the required tests but did not pass one, or all, of them do not have to reschedule those tests. Student teachers will be eligible for the five-year teaching license without reporting any additional scores. Student teachers who have already taken and passed all of the (formerly) required tests have met the state’s requirements and would be eligible for reciprocity in other states. 

 

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