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Earlier this month, a report by the Alabama Commission on the Evaluation of Services showed less than 50% of education students pass the Praxis test on the first try in Alabama.

The report drew the ire of lawmakers, including State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the Alabama Senate Education Trust Fund budget committee chairman.

However, there are some explanations for the low scores, according to State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), who serves as the chairwoman of the House Education Policy Committee.

During an appearance on "Rightside Radio," Collins acknowledged the need for improvement. However, she told host Phil Williams there were some not-so-obvious reasons for the low testing results.

"I think that we need to continue to be pushing for high-quality educator preparation programs at our universities," Collins said. "I know that we've allowed this last year we passed some language that would allow higher education and alternative certification programs come in because we are in a teacher shortage right now. But we want to make sure the teachers are prepared when they get there. And I actually did have a chance last week to go to the state school board meeting. And I heard a little bit more information about the dire reporting of that – some things that were maybe not necessarily included.

"First of all, it looked like they were 50%. Well, that was on — in order to get like an elementary degree, you have four or five Praxis [tests] you have to take. And so that means on one of those, they might not have scored [a passing grade]. It also does not mean that they have had the program yet. It doesn't mean they have gone through that college's program and then take the test. Some of them take the test before they've ever started. And so, it has a few little caveats that might not have been completely there. But we do want to make sure all of our teachers are prepared. And I'll say something I've learned at a lot of the conferences I've been to – a lot of the real high-quality groups are much more of an advocate of an edTPA [educative Teacher Performance Assessment] testing than a Praxis. They believe it shows more of how you're teaching in the classroom, what your quality is going to be like when you're going to be there, and a little bit more on the content. The Praxis may or may not be the best measuring stick if that makes sense."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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