Board Awards Certificates in Middle School English

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A select group of 90 middle school English teachers has been awarded the first national certificates of accomplished teaching in that field.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a privately organized group that is creating a voluntary system for recognizing outstanding teachers, announced the newly certified teachers last month.

The 90 teachers were from an initial pool of 230 who completed the entire field-test of the assessment package for the early-adolescence/English-language-arts certificate. They endured a rigorous process that included compiling portfolios from their schools and completing exercises at an assessment center.

Their work was then scored by trained middle school English-language-arts teachers according to standards devised by committees of teachers and other experts. But first the national board had to revise its plans for scoring the assessments, which caused a delay in announcing the certificates.

"Literacy is not a destination, but a way of life," Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. of North Carolina, the chairman of the Detroit-based board, said in making the announcement. "Accomplished teachers provide their students numerous opportunities to learn the language processes of reading, writing, speaking, and listening."

Two Successful Candidates

In January, the board announced that 81 middle school teachers who are subject-matter generalists had met the requirements for certification in that area.

Last month's news means that both Rick Wormeli and Diane Hughart--candidates whose progress toward completing the assessments was featured in Education Week--received national certification. (See Education Week, April 20, 1994.)

Mr. Wormeli is a generalist and Ms. Hughart is an English-language-arts teacher at Herndon Middle School in Fairfax County, Va. Mr. Wormeli was among those certified in January.

Ms. Hughart said she was "very pleased" to learn that she had passed the demanding battery of assessments. "I felt very lucky," she said. "I thought it could go either way. I was ready to accept it if I didn't pass."

The national board is now certifying teachers who are generalists working with children in early and middle childhood.

The two assessments that the first nationally certified teachers underwent are being retooled to be less expensive and cumbersome and will be available next year, when a total of six assessments will be offered. (See Education Week, May 31, 1995.)

Eventually, the organization plans to develop assessment packages in more than 30 fields.

Vol. 15, Issue 01

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