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Teaching Board Approves Assessments for 1st Two Certificates

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The national body that has been developing a system to certify expert teachers will now make the tests widely available to candidates in two fields.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced late last month that its board of directors had approved the assessment packages for two certificates--the first of their kind.

"We've now demonstrated that it's possible to test teachers with performance standards that are fair and reliable," said James R. Smith, the board's senior vice president. The tests will be offered over the next year, he added.

The privately organized board, based in Detroit, has been working for seven years to devise a voluntary national system for recognizing accomplished teachers.

Under its pilot program, teachers seeking a board certificate completed a battery of assessments over the past year that included compiling portfolios of their best classroom work.

Teachers of early adolescents who field-tested the assessments for "generalists" are expected to find out by mid-December whether they will be certified, Mr. Smith said.

Results Delayed

The board, however, delayed the release of the results of the early-adolescence/English-language-arts tests until June 1995. (See Education Week, June 15, 1994.)

After discovering problems with the University of Pittsburgh's proposed scoring procedures for those tests, the board handed the task to the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. The E.T.S. is still working on the scoring system.

But board officials said they were confident enough that the new procedures would be sound to begin offering the tests for both certificates.

"Everything seems to be on track with the English-language-arts certificate even though the whole package is not completed," Joanne Kogan, a spokeswoman for the board, said.

The University of Georgia's education school developed the assessments for the generalist certificate. Faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh collaborated with officials from the Connecticut Education Department on the English-language-arts package.

During the 1994-95 school year, the board is field-testing assessments for four more certificates: early-childhood/generalist; middle-childhood/generalist; early-adolescence/social studies-history; and adolescence and young-adulthood/mathematics.

Mr. Smith said the board expects eventually to offer more than 30 different types of teaching certificates.

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