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2 in 5 Teachers In Conn. Fail Licensing Test

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Roughly two out of every five prospective elementary teachers to take a Connecticut licensing test designed to measure what a teacher needs to know in the classroom failed the examination, according to a report released this month by the state education department.

Of the 640 people who took the test, including college juniors and seniors, 59 percent passed. The passage rate rose, however, to 68 percent for candidates with bachelor's degrees and to 70 percent for those with master's degrees.

In contrast, teacher candidates who took tests in 22 subject areas passed at an overall rate of 83 percent.

Unlike the examinations for elementary licensure, the subject-area tests were provided by the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J.

Ray Pecheone, chief of the state bureau of research and teacher assessment, said the results of the state-designed test indicate that Connecticut has the toughest standards in the nation.

"Not because we have artificially high standards," he argued. "The one difference Connecticut has compared with other states is our minimums are minimums that are professionally defensible."

"Many places have set standards with political considerations in mind as opposed to what is necessary to do the job," Mr. Pecheone contended.

The tests, part of a legislative package passed in 1986 that increased standards along with teachers' salaries, were administered for the first time last July and October.

The study also lends credence to the theory that candidates with classroom experience will perform better. Sixty-five percent of those with student-teacher training passed, while only 47 percent of those without that experience successfully completed the test.

The release of the study, Mr. Pecheone said, has generated tremendous interest on the part of higher-education officials and faculty members who prepare teachers.

The state is sharing test information with those involved in teacher preparation--an action that could result in the modification of training or testing, Mr. Pecheone suggested.--kd

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