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New Mexico switches to new licensing test for teachers

January 22, 2020 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has opted for a new teacher candidate exam system that will mean a higher price tag for those taking the test for the first time.

Information from the state Public Education Department shows the change will cost teacher candidates up to $50 more for required assessments at the get-go. But officials tell the Albuquerque Journal that the new system will provide more support to test takers and retakes will be free.

Under the previous testing platform, a candidate would pay full price for a second go at the exam.

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The state previously used the National Evaluation Series to test K-12 educator hopefuls.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her state of the state address Tuesday noted that New Mexico has reduced the teacher vacancy rate by 13% over the last year, but there are still more than 600 open positions.

Hope Morales, executive director of Teach Plus New Mexico, said the state should have an exam that is accessible but maintains high expectations.

“We are not in a place right now where we have an abundance of teachers. If there is something that could be a blocker, like a financial component, we need to be looking ahead and make sure there aren’t barriers that could hinder teachers getting to the classroom,” she said.

Public Education Deputy Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment said the resources and opportunities to take the test multiple times were factors in making the switch.

The new testing requirements primarily affect those entering the profession, but it can affect educators who want to teach a different grade or subject.