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Archive for Friday, November 19, 1993

REGENTS OK STRICTER TEACHER STANDARDS

November 19, 1993

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KU faculty question the wisdom of using a standardized test to determine admission to state university education schools.

-- The Kansas Board of Regents will impose new admission standards for teacher training programs, despite dissent by two Kansas University professors.

Regents voted Thursday to coordinate criteria for making education school admission decisions at KU and five other universities by fall 1995.

Selection will be based on grade-point average, completion of specific math, English and communications classes, experience working with children and a standardized test score.

"We wanted to make the schools of education more professional," said Regent Frank Sabatini, chair of a task force that spent a year studying the issue.

Richard Whelan, KU's acting education dean, and John Poggio of KU's Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation said they welcomed higher standards.

However, they said the Pre-Professional Skills Test was unnecessary, given the regents' adoption of classroom performance standards.

"We're hard pressed to see any merit to using the test," said Poggio, who worked with Sabatini's task force. "We want students sitting through tough courses, not cramming for exams. It makes the test the brass ring."

Poggio said the testing requirement suggests assessments of classroom work weren't sufficient to judge whether a student had a chance to develop into a high-quality teacher.

"The test is not that difficult," said Regent Shirley Palmer, an elementary school teacher. "If they cannot pass the test ... I would question whether they will be good teachers."

Jack Skillett, education dean at Emporia State University, said the entire admissions plan should be allowed to work for a year before regents consider changes. It might make sense to end testing in the future, he said.

"This is the time for the Board of Regents to come forward," Skillett said. "It is not a time to blink."

Martine Hammond-Paludan, regents' director of academic affairs, said some students take basic courses at colleges with weaker academic standards than exist at regents universities. A test is needed to measure those students' ability, she said.

Sixty percent of people receiving education degrees in Kansas earn them at a regents university.

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