The road Fresno Pacific University students need to follow to serve their communities as elementary-school educators is now shorter thanks to the university’s participation in a new statewide program.
The university received official approval in April, so students who complete the required course of study as part of the liberal arts or liberal studies programs will not need to take the CSET Multiple Subjects Exam to get a California Multiple Subject Credential. Only 23 institutions in the state may provide the ESM (Elementary Subjects Matter) waiver. “We will become the only private institution in the Valley that can waive the Multiple Subjects CSET for students who complete our programs,” said FPU Liberal Arts Program Director Laura Gonzalez, Ed.D.
The state began offering waivers due to the high demand for teachers. To qualify, colleges and universities need to demonstrate they teach and assess all content in a CSET exam. The CSET, which stands for California Subject Examinations for Teachers, has actually kept some great teacher candidates out of the profession, according to Gonzalez. “This waiver would greatly benefit schools that are struggling with the current teacher shortage. Removing this huge barrier will move more candidates through the pipeline,” she said. “Students would also benefit in having well-prepared teachers from a wide range of backgrounds who otherwise might have not entered the profession.”
FPU’s ESM program has gone through a thorough review to ensure courses address all areas covered in a CSET Multiple Subject Exam. “Having curriculum directly aligned to the kind of assessment students take in a course is a more effective way to ensure students retain knowledge rather than requiring them to pass standardized tests months or years after completing their courses,” Gonzalez said.
The ESM waiver at FPU is available to liberal arts and liberal studies graduates who completed all required coursework on or after December 2020. The waiver only demonstrates competency in the multiple subjects area and can only be used for programs in elementary education and/or special education for elementary students.