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National Certification Now A Reality

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The teachers were selected from 289 candidates who completed a field test of the board's assessment for generalists who work with children in early adolescence. An additional 252 candidates finished the exercises designed for middle school English and language arts teachers. They will find out this summer whether they met the standards of accomplished teaching that the assessments are designed to measure.

The Detroit-based board is currently field-testing four additional assessments. Eventually, it will offer certification in more than 30 teaching fields.

The assessments require teachers to demonstrate--through videotapes, portfolios, essays, and interviews--their knowledge and skills. The candidates who were awarded certification last month spent much of the 1993-94 school year collecting and preparing samples of their best classroom work for submission. They were then grilled for two days at an assessment center. (See "Test Pilots,'' May/June.)

"The national board has taken the vision of teacher professionalism that we've had for decades and turned it into a reality,'' board-certified teacher Scott Muri of Banner Elk, N.C., said.

The board was created in 1987, following the recommendation of a high-profile task force convened by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Task force members believed that in order for teaching to become a true profession, with the increased pay and responsibilities associated with professionalism, more rigorous standards needed to be created for teaching. The board, which has 63 members, the majority of whom are teachers, hopes certification will be viewed by practitioners not as an end in itself but as an opportunity to experience professional growth.

It is now up to districts and states to decide whether and how to reward teachers who become board certified. Several jurisdictions have already developed policies to encourage teachers to seek certification, including paying the $900 fee to undergo the assessments.

For a complete list of the first board-certified teachers, see "In the Spotlight'' on page 53. Educators interested in seeking certification can call the national board at (800) 22-TEACH.

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