Central Florida could be impacted now that teachers need higher exam scores to work in public schools

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida teachers will need to score higher on certification exams if they want to work in public schools.

On Tuesday, the state Board of Education raised the passing scores needed on eight exams, including math and elementary education. The state raised the score on the science teacher exam in 2012.

The state wants to make sure those who pass the exams are effective teachers, but Channel 9's Bianca Castro learned there's now concern that the higher standards could make it more difficult to fill the shortage of teachers in central Florida.

In two years, University of Central Florida student Kelsey Smith will be ready to lead her own classroom.

"Hopefully I take my certification exam and become a teacher as soon as I can," she said.

But it's going to take a lot more work to pass the exam than Smith had anticipated.

The state predicts that only 46 percent of the people who take the math certification test will pass.

"We are going to take a look at the exam and make sure that we are preparing our students as they need to be," said UCF director of community relations, Rich Sloane.

But raising the bar brings on concerns for educators who said it's already a challenge finding good people willing to work long hours for little pay.

"If you don't raise the pay and change some of the work load that's happening with our teachers right now, that's why you're not seeing a lot of people stay," said Diana Moore of the Orange County Teacher's Union.

Last school year, more than 1,500 teachers resigned in Orange County. So far this year, more than 700 have turned in their resignations.

Smith said she knows what to expect, and looks forward to it.

"It's what I want to do so whatever it takes I'll do it," she said.