N.J. Moves To Upgrade Admissions Standards, Stress Liberal Arts

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New Jersey has joined the growing number of states that have moved to tighten their undergraduate teacher-preparation standards. The state's board of education recently endorsed tougher admissions and graduation requirements for teacher-training programs. The standards were passed in February by the state's higher-education board.

Liberal Arts Emphasis

Also, the new mandates reflect an attempt to emphasize liberal arts in the state's teacher-education curriculum. One provision, in fact, would prohibit students from majoring in education.

If the new standards win final approval from the state board in June, they will go into effect in September of 1983.

Specifically, the new standards would:

Require applicants to teacher-education programs to have a 2.5 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale). This average would have to be maintained in order for the student to graduate. Currently, there is no such grade-average requirement.

Basic Skills

Require students, for admission and graduation, to demonstrate on a standardized test (of the education school's choice) their grasp of basic mathematics and communications skills.

Require would-be teachers to have some practice-teaching experience before they are admitted into teacher-education programs in their junior year.

Require that education-school faculty members evaluate students at the end of their junior year on the quality of their practice teaching, their grade-point average, and their subject-area knowledge.

Create a teacher-education curriculum that would include 60 credit-hours in general studies, 30 hours in a non-education major, 18 hours in teaching theory, and a minimum of 30 hours in teaching-methods courses.

Currently, the state requires 45 hours in general studies and 15 hours in teaching methods, and would-be teachers are free to major in education.--T.T.

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