3. The State of Texas has contracted your CPA firm to serve as the internal audit function for The State Board for Educator Certification. The certification board is organized into four broad areas: educator preparation, assessment and accountability, certification, and professional discipline that includes investigations and enforcement.
Educator preparation. In the area of educator preparation, the certification board works primarily with entities preparing educators for state certification. The work includes guidance in program development, approval, and implementation. The board currently serves 70 universities, 16 community colleges, and 30 alternative teacher certification programs. The board also advises entities interested in initiating educator preparation programs. The certification board is involved in reviewing program approval procedures to streamline the process while maintaining the integrity of program review.
Assessment and accountability. State law requires that individuals pass examinations in the areas in which they seek certification. The certification board manages the development and administration of the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET), Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT), Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES), Texas Oral Proficiency Test (TOPT), and Texas Assessment of Sign Communication (TASC) and (TASC-ASL) testing programs. Individuals typically take the TExES Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities test and additional tests in the academic disciplines in which they seek certification after completing a program of preparation for the specific certificate(s). These tests assess the prospective educator's knowledge of academic content and teaching, including understanding of learners. Test development and review of current tests is ongoing. Passing standards are reviewed periodically and recommendations from these reviews are presented to the Board. The Board sets the minimum score required to pass each certification test. Assessment professionals work with school district and educator preparation program staff to identify committee members for these activities.
The certification board monitors the quality of educator preparation at university and alternative certification programs through the Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP). The certification board uses assessment data (TExES, ExCET, TExMaT, TOPT, TASC, and TASC-ASL) and the subsequent performance of beginning teachers to determine program quality and issue annual accreditation reports according to minimum acceptable performance levels established by the Board.
Certification. The certification board is responsible for ensuring that educators are qualified to serve in the Texas public school system through the following:
§ Issuing educator credentials to applicants who have completed the appropriate degree and have a standard credential from another state or another country,
§ Issuing educator credentials to applicants who have completed requirements for certification at a Texas educator preparation program,
§ Certifying applicants adding certification based on completion of the appropriate examination(s).
§ Issuing educator credentials to educational aides,
§ Issuing emergency and nonrenewable permits to school districts and reviewing and approving hardship permits,
§ Analyzing and disseminating data on certificate and permit activity.
§ Coordinating applicant criminal investigations, and
§ Advising school district staff on assignment criteria for hiring appropriately certified individuals.
Professional discipline. The certification board ensures that Texas educators meet the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behavior. Through its enforcement of disciplinary rules and the Educators' Code of Ethics, the board investigates allegations of educator misconduct to guarantee the safety and well-being of Texas schoolchildren and fellow educators. When determining whether sanctions against a certificate are warranted, the board conducts a thorough investigation and provides the educator an opportunity to be heard. Cases which are not resolved informally through agreed orders may result in informal hearings before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
Your firm uses a business process approach to internal auditing.
A. Identify five functions/processes involved in achieving the mission of The State Board for Educator Certification.
B. Identify which of the functions/processes you consider most critical. Explain your reasoning.
C. Identify three risks to the function/process identified as most critical in C above. Rank the three risks (1 = highest). For each risk, identify a key control activity that could be implemented to mitigate the risk.
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