Missouri using federal COVID funds to pay for teacher certification tests

(The Center Square) – Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will pay for educator certification tests with its remaining $500,000 in federal COVID-19 funding.

The funds are from the second round of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund. The U.S. Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund website, updated on April 30, reported Missouri spent 83.8% or $730 million of $871 million. They’re available for obligation through Sept. 30.

Beginning Tuesday and continuing through Sept. 30, individuals can register for any Missouri Content Assessment, Missouri General Education Assessment or the Paraprofessional exam at no cost until the state funds are spent.

According to the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments website, the fee is $49 for all five subtests – English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and writing. The fee is $25 for a single subtest.

“Teachers are the number one school-related factor in the quality of student learning,” Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner in the Office of Educator Quality, said in a statement. “This is why the state must do all it can to make sure each Missouri student has a high-quality teacher. Using relief funds to assist with the cost of teacher candidates taking their exit assessment is a step towards expanding the supply of excellent teachers for our schools, which is a critical goal of DESE’s teacher recruitment and retention efforts.”

The fee for the Missouri Content Assessments is $73. The tests are for early childhood and elementary education, middle school, secondary education, special education, student services and school and district leadership.

Teacher candidates will be limited to three concurrent fee registrations per person. Individuals have up to one year from the date of registration to take the certification test.

The fee waiver will only apply to registrations between June 6 and Sept. 30 due to the federal regulations. When individuals register for one of the assessments, the cost will be automatically waived during the process. No money or a special offer code will be required of the registrant during the process.

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