Here’s a comprehensive outline of the development of CSET tests. It’s from A History of Policies and Forces Shaping California Teacher Credentialing on the (Commission on Teaching Credentialing) CTC website:
Demography, diversity and population booms have marked California schools. This creates many debates:
How often have reforms been debated (which later impacted your CSET exam)? Often. Reforms are based on an appeal to public fears of failing schools. And in some cases, “expert knowledge is routinely ignored in favor of amateur views”. In California, reforms can be tracked using a timeline.
1850–1950 Schools and districts decided on teacher competence; teacher education was not uniform.
1950–1961 State Senator Hugo Fisher called for more subject matter prep; less pedagogical prep.
1961–1965 The press, college ed. faculty and other professional organizations reacted strongly to the State Board of Education’s attempts to focus on separate subject knowledge alone.
1966–1970 The Ryan Act of 1970, moved forward by Leo J. Ryan, worked to engage all stakeholders to create well-qualified teachers.
1971–1980 The California Legislature created the very first independent standards board: the Commission on Teacher Preparation and Licensing. This helped to establish teaching as a recognized profession.
1981–1988 Many meetings produced ideas about teacher education, but there was little action.
1988–1996 The Commission’s role and responsibilities expanded. Program standards, accreditation procedures, automated licensure procedures, and credentialing practices were developed.
1996–2003 The Commission became an agent of school reform through teacher prep. A demand for teachers as a result of class size reduction, led to attention to accountability and to SB 2042 teacher preparation and initiation of a comprehensive study of basic teaching requirements for the multiple and single subject credentials – SB 1422.
2004–2010 Through controversy, the Commission survived and worked on accreditation, standard setting and revision. There was an emphasis on improved communication with stakeholders. An on-line credential application system reduced the time and paper involved in credential processing.
- How do you keep all public schools staffed with well-trained, effective teachers when population shifts create a crisis in staffing for many schools?
- Should teachers be prepared primarily to teach? Or should they be prepared with knowledge of their subject?
- Who should be in charge of educating the teacher? A university? Or the school in which the teacher is working? How can they collaborate?
- What should California teachers be able to know and do in order to ensure students know and can do things considered essential in each subject area at each grade level?
- Should school districts assume that once a teacher earns a degree the teacher is highly qualified to teach?
State Organizations Involved
There are 19 members of the CTC, 15 voting members and 4 ex-officio, non-voting Members.
The Governor appoints 14 voting Commissioners serving 4 years as volunteers in unpaid positions:
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction or his/her designee is the 15th voting Member.
The four ex-officio, non-voting Members are selected one each by the main stakeholders in California higher education:
- six classroom teachers
- one school administrator
- one school board member
- one school counselor or services credential holder
- one higher education faculty member from an institution for teacher education
- four public members
California educators, teacher educators, and other content and assessment specialists were consulted as the materials were developed. All CSET exam competencies were then approved by the Commission.
The CSET tests were defined by committees of California educators and then approved by the CTC.
The California Subject Examinations for Teachers or (CSET test) evolved over the years from a series of educational reforms.
- Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
- Regents of the University of California
- the California State University
- California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office