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The National Policy Board for Educational Administration next month will take another step toward its goal of developing national standards for school administrators.

The board has invited all state education commissioners to attend a meeting Jan. 14-15 in Reston, Va., to identify common licensing standards and lay the groundwork for the creation of a national exam for administrators.

Scott Thomson, the executive secretary of the N.P.B.E.A., said the meeting is expected to draw officials from 25 to 35 states.

The policy board, formed in 1988, is made up of 10 major education associations. In addition to developing national standards for administrators, its mission is to narrow the gap between theory and practice in preparation programs.

After releasing this year its own 570-page document on what administrators should know and be able to do, the board is now focusing on coordinating the "patchwork'' of standards and licensing procedures in the states.

Current certification standards are outmoded, lowering the quality of candidates admitted to the field, Mr. Thomson argued.

States interested in coordinating their procedures could either use the board's skills base as the foundation for a national certification test or draft new principles.

"This is an approach used traditionally in all of the other professions,'' Mr. Thomson noted.

He also pointed out that, as is common on many states' professional exams, licensing tests for administrators could be divided into a national exam and a section with state-specific material.

While the board favors using a combination of a paper-andpencil test, a portfolio review, and a performance evaluation, such decisions will be left to the states.

If the states cooperate on the effort, the board expects that a national test could be developed in the next two years.

Already, 35 states are reviewing their own licensing standards, and a consortium of New England states is working to develop common standards and procedures.

Next month's conference is being underwritten by the Danforth Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the Lilly Endowment. The registration deadline is Dec. 31.

For more information, call or write the National Policy Board for Educational Administration, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, Va. 22030-4444; (703) 993-3644.--JOANNA RICHARDSON

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