This descriptive exploratory study looked at the certification process, test-taking experiences, and instructional practices of a group of graduate bilingual education (BE) and English-as-a- Second-Language (ESL) teachers to understand why some had problems passing teacher certification tests after completing their degrees. The study surveyed 63 BE and ESL teachers on their certification and test-taking experiences and their perceived instructional strengths. From this group of 63 participants, 15 volunteer teachers were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. Findings reveal most teachers passed certification tests on the first or second attempt. However, several failed tests due to language, content, and time difficulties, which had frustrating consequences for their teaching careers. Teachers' perceived and observed instructional strengths reflected to varying degrees effective research-based practices for English Language Learners. Despite test challenges, teachers persisted, were passionate and committed to students. Study findings call for further research on teacher certification tests and their relationship to teacher quality and the instructional practices teachers implement.
Teacher Qualifications and Certification