Princeton, N.J. (Oct. 2, 2014) – Educational Testing Service (ETS), in collaboration with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), began administering the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment on October 1. This assessment is a training and assessment program composed of modules that combine instruction and testing. The goal is to help educators become familiar with, understand, and apply the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, as well as comprehend and embrace the principles of ethical decision making in an educational context.
ETS is initially offering the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment at two levels:
“Test takers can access the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment on their computers or tablet devices anywhere they have Internet access,” says Janet Cook, Executive Director of ETS’s Teacher Licensure and Certification Division. “It is intended for educator candidates who are entering either a traditional preparation or an alternative/nontraditional certification program and candidates who are seeking an induction certificate (traditional) or completing an alternative/nontraditional preparation program.”
The assessment’s seven interactive modules combine instruction and testing, and focus on professionalism in education, specifically in teachers’ relationships with their students, their schools and their communities. Furthermore, the assessment focuses on ethical understanding to guide decision making and the specific regulations for educators in Georgia.
According to George Powell, ETS Vice President and COO of Teacher Licensure and Certification Programs, “This assessment is a training program that offers a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach around authentic scenarios. It is designed not only to reinforce ethical standards or code, but also gives candidates the opportunity to navigate through real-life scenarios, deepening their understanding of the obligations of a professional educator, and clarifying how to avoid risk.”
Kelly Henson, Executive Secretary of the GaPSC, reflected on the importance of this work. “When our Commission issues a sanction, no matter how necessary that sanction is, the damage is already done,” he explains. “It’s done to an educator, it’s done to a school, and most tragically, it’s frequently done to a child. Georgia is already a national leader in ethics enforcement. Now, together with ETS, we are making Georgia a leader in ethics education, outreach and prevention.”
Toward this aim, the GaPSC also initiated rule changes in educator preparation as part of tiered certification. These changes reflect an intentional focus by the GaPSC and state-approved Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) on ethics instruction and assessment, which included the development of the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment. The essential goal of this assessment is to strengthen ethical understanding among educators, including pre-service and beginning teachers as well as school leaders, and proactively address the ethical issues faced by educators.
The Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators defines the professional behavior of educators in Georgia and serves as a guide to ethical conduct. The GaPSC has adopted standards that represent the conduct generally accepted by the education profession. Similarly, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) has convened a committee to develop, adopt, and distribute a framework that clearly defines the ethical and professional obligations of educators. This framework is meant to serve as a model code of conduct for educators that is flexible enough to be adapted and enforced by any jurisdiction.
ETS is working with other states to leverage its experience with the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment. A national assessment aligned to the Model Code of Ethics for Educators will be launched in fall 2015.
For more information about the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, please visit www.gapsc.com/Ethics/CodeOfEthics.aspx.
For more information about the Model Code of Ethics for Educators, please visit www.nasdtec.net/?page=MCEE.
For more information about the new Georgia Educator Ethics assessment or to register, please visit www.gace.ets.org/ethics.