« Opting In to Standardized Testing | Main | High School Exit Exam Alternatives »

Personality Tests for Teacher Candidates

College graduates who want to be teachers have to pass a variety of tests designed to assess their knowledge of subject matter and pedagogical expertise.  But when half of new teachers quit within the first five years, it's a sign that more is needed.  That's why I propose the addition of a personality test ("Today's Personality Tests Raise the Bar for Job Seekers," The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 15).  

The private sector has used pre-hire assessments for years, with the trend growing dramatically.  In 2001, 26 percent of large companies used them.  By 2013, 57 percent did.  The CIA has long placed great emphasis on such screening because it has found personality tests to have high predictive value.

Critics will say that personality tests have no place in public schools because the best teachers are virtuosos who are in a class of their own.  There is truth to that view.  However, I submit that a well designed personality test can serve as a rough screen that will help all prospective teachers decide if they have realistic expectations.  Too often college graduates learn that they are not suited only after they have devoted much time, effort and money.

The test would present candidates with a series of real-life scenarios and ask them for their reactions.  There would be no right answer.  Instead, candidates would respond on a scale from, say, 1 to 10.  I acknowledge that no such test can provide absolute reliability.  But if it helps candidates look more deeply into themselves about their reasons for choosing to be a teacher, I say it's worthwhile considering.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments