Statewide Educator Ethics Assessment

A safe learning environment for all students is a top priority for everyone in Georgia, including our educator preparation program providers. A critical factor in establishing and maintaining that safe environment is to ensure all educator candidates and educators have a solid understanding of ethical principles and regulations to help them make ethical decisions in working with children.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) Educator Preparation Rule 505-3-.01, Requirements and Standards for Approving Professional Education Units and Educator Preparation Programs, became effective January 15, 2013, and requires providers to ensure candidates complete a well-planned sequence of courses and/or experiences in professional studies that includes knowledge about an application of professional ethics and social behavior appropriate for school and community, as well as specific knowledge about the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. This rule also reinforces the expectation of candidates to demonstrate knowledge and dispositions reflective of the standards and requirements delineated in the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. In addition, providers must assess candidates’ knowledge of professional ethical standards and the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. This requirement helps ensure candidates bring a strong knowledge of professional ethics to their current and future classrooms.

In addition to the focus on ethics in Rule 505-3-.01, the GaPSC is working with Educational Testing Services (ETS) to develop a low-cost statewide ethics assessment, in the form of online instructional ethics modules, for educators. Still under development, these modules will focus not only on helping to ensure an understanding of the regulatory components of the Georgia Code of Ethics but also ethical understanding to guide behaviors and decision making. The GaPSC is working to have these assessments available by Fall 2014.

The modules will assess and measure effectively and reliably the learners’ understanding of the Code, their knowledge of the compliance obligations they face as Georgia educators, and their capacity and disposition to act ethically as professional educators. The development of the assessment will be informed by diverse representation from program providers, P-12 education, and other agencies and organizations.

Draft Tiered Certification Requirements

Although the Tiered Certification Task Force has not yet completed its work, there is an ethics assessment requirement planned for the pre-service and induction tiers as follows: Pre-service Certificate: Pre-service educators will be issued a pre-service certificate, which not only places the teacher candidate under the GaPSC purview regarding accountability to the Georgia Code of Ethics, but also indicates the candidate has been accepted as a candidate in the education profession. The prospective candidate will take the pre-service ethics assessment as a program admission requirement, but there will be no minimum passing score. The modules within the assessment will be tailored for the professional educator but appropriate for the pre-service level. The purpose of the assessment is to provide exposure to the Georgia Code of Ethics and provide initial data to program providers regarding student understanding of ethics in general and the Georgia Code of Ethics. Such data will be useful in informing delivery of ethics content to candidates as required by Rule 505-3-.01. Induction Certificate: In order to be issued an induction certificate, Georgia educators will need to attain a passing score on the GaPSCs Educator Ethics Assessment. Still a low cost online assessment, the modules within the assessment will be tailored for the professional educator. The ethics assessment will also be required for out-of-state educators completing their clinical field experiences in Georgia.