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University of Ga. Wins Contract for Teaching Tests

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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has selected the Performance Assessment Laboratory at the University of Georgia to develop assessment methods for middle- and junior-high-school teachers who want to receive national certification.

The board last week awarded the lab a 30-month, $1.5-million contract to develop standards, identify assessment methods, and pilot test the assessments, as well as conduct related work.

The University of Georgia has made an in-kind contribution of $386,041 to the project, which is expected to produce materials that will be used to certify generalist teachers of students ages 11 to 15.

As with other contracts the national board has let since last November, this one will include classroom teachers. (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1990, and March 6, 1991.)

A teacher, for example, will be released from school duties to be on the lab's staff, and teachers will participate on committees to generate ideas and review materials.

The board selected the University of Georgia lab and its director, William Capie, to take on the assessment because of their experience with cutting-edge teacher assessment technologies dating back to the mid-1970's.

"This task certainly will take us well beyond any existing teacher-evaluation program," said Mr. Capie, a professor of education.

Also a factor in the selection criteria was the lab's inclusion of people from the fields of industrial psychology and business.

"The Georgia team represents an exciting approach to teacher evaluation that marries the work of education-measurement researchers with that of the industrial-psychology community, and these diverse perspectives will enrich the development effort," said Joan Baratz-Snowden, the board's vice president for assessment and research.

The university lab will conduct pilot testing with rural, urban, and suburban school districts in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, and Texas.

The standards board, which is attempting to address educational reform by certifying teachers who meet high standards, has targeted 1993 for the launch of its first certification assessment.--kd

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