Virginia Board of Education Voted To Lower Teacher Licensure Standards for Chemistry, Physics, and Biology


On Nov. 17, 2022, the Virginia Board of Education voted to lower the minimum passing scores for teacher licensure exams for chemistry, physics, and biology. All except one of the board members voted to lower the score.  The full recording is here.

The exams are required for those seeking teacher licensure (unless the teacher already holds an out-of-state license).

Below are the old passing scores and the new, lower passing scores.

  • Chemistry: current passing score: 153; new passing score: 146
  • Physics: current passing score: 147; new passing score: 145
  • Biology: current passing score: 155; new passing score: 154

Tests are graded on a 100-200 point scale

The topic was originally introduced during a board meeting October 20, 2022 during which Joan B. Johnson, Assistant Superintendent for Teacher Education and Licensure, presented a proposal to replace the current Chemistry, Physics, and Biology teacher Praxis exams with new exams and lower the passing scores. That conversation may be viewed here.

Virginia, like many states, is facing a teacher shortage. The Virginia Department of Education’s website states, “According to the 2021 Annual Report on the Condition of Needs of Public Schools in Virginia (Word) by the Virginia Board of Education, there were 1,063 unfilled teaching positions for the 2019-20 school year. 

As of August 2022, the Virginia Department of Education Staffing and Vacancy “Build-a-Table” tool shows 2,594 teacher vacancies.