Performance-Based Tests To Determine Licensure Under Kentucky Program

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New teacher candidates in Kentucky may one day demonstrate their professional readiness in much the same way as doctors and architects.

Currently, most states, including Kentucky, grant teachers a license upon graduation from a nationally and state-approved teacher preparation program.

But a pilot program being developed by Kentucky and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education may be the wave of the future, officials involved in the project say.

Under the new agreement, Kentucky will develop a performance-based testing program that all teacher candidates must pass to obtain a license.

The Washington-based NCATE, which is the national accrediting body for teacher education programs, will then base its accreditation of an education school partially on how well its graduates perform on the test.

The new model could eliminate some duplication between national and state accreditation of education schools.

'A New Direction'

Shari Francis, the director ofstate relations for NCATE, said the program approval by the states "unilaterally is not as stringent [as NCATE's], but institutions are forced to go through both."

More significantly, Ms. Francis said, the effort is "a new direction and vision for ratcheting up the system," and basing licensure on actual measures of performance.

In that sense, the teacher-licensing program would resemble those of other established professions, in which candidates must demonstrate their abilities through internships and examinations.

Ms. Francis stressed that the project is very much "in evolution" and that it is several years away from becoming the standard for teacher certification.

"It's not a quick fix," Ms. Francis added, noting that it may face some opposition and needs to be taken slowly.

Marnel Moorman, the president of the Kentucky Education Association, said the teachers' union, for one, is taking a cautious approach to the idea.

"We need to be looking at other ways of certification," Mr. Moorman said, "but it's very important that the stakeholders are involved, and in this case, that means teachers."

Vol. 14, Issue 05

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