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Group of Ohio Districts Will Test New Teachers

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Cincinnati--A coalition of Ohio school superintendents has reinstituted an old method of determining who will teach and who will not teach in its member school districts.

Testing, which vanished from Ohio in 1935 as a means of certify-ing new teachers, was resurrected this month as a hiring requirement in 56 school districts.

School officials in those districts, which belong to the 91-member Council for Academic Excellence in Ohio Schools, announced early this month that they will require all applicants for teaching positions to take the Preprofessional Skills Test. The test is a basic-skills examination in reading, writing, and mathematics that was originally designed by the Educational Testing Service to screen students entering college-level teaching programs.

"This is just a gross screening measure for our school districts," said Gary Payne, one of the six superintendents who serve on the council's steering committee. "We're going to look at other criteria as well," he said.

Experienced teachers applying to transfer into one of the 56 districts will be expected to take the test, said Mr. Payne, although those who already teach in the districts will not.

Network Promotes Standards

The council is a network of school districts of varied sizes, demogra-phy, and financial conditions that promotes the pursuit of high standards for student achievement and educational programming, as well as accountability among teachers, administrators, and school-board members.

The council's decision to use the test as a hiring factor follows, by one year, a recommendation from an Ohio Department of Education Commission that the state require those entering the teaching profession to pass a competency examination for certification. That group, the Teacher Education and Certification Advisory Commission, is presently studying a variety of ways to measure teacher competency, said Robert Bowers, assistant superintendent for the Ohio Department of Education. However, said Mr. Bowers, the earliest its proposals could become effective is 1987.

About 1,000 people took the preprofessional test when it was administered by the council early this month. The test is scheduled to be given again in June.

Each of the 56 districts will determine its own qualifying scores on the test.

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