Massachusetts gives teacher test againJuly 11, 1998
Web posted at: 9:31 p.m. EDT (0131 GMT)
From Correspondent Cynthia Tornquist
BOSTON (CNN) -- Massachusetts administered its controversial teacher-certification exams again on Saturday, after 60 percent of those who took the first round of tests in April failed.
"I think if this test is any example, and they can get past this, then that's all right," said David Ader, one of the candidates who took the test. "If they couldn't get past this test, that would scare me."
Massachusetts recently joined 43 other states that require testing prospective teachers. The exams, given in two sessions in an eight-hour time period, test spelling, grammar and writing.
"If you don't have a high level of competence in the English language and a high level of knowledge and competence in the subject matter you are teaching, you can't possibly teach," said John Silber, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education.
Republican Gov. Paul Celluci wants to expand the testing to include working teachers. They would be tested when they come up for recertification.
"[If] we only have even 5 percent of the teachers who are not capable, who are not competent," he said. "You multiply that by the number of kids in their class, that's a lot of kids who are not getting the teaching that they need to succeed."
The state teachers union supports testing candidates but not teachers already in the classroom.
"Any evaluator worth his salt can tell right away walking into a classroom under multiple observations whether a teacher is not only literate, knows his or her subject area but is a good communicator and a good teacher," said Steve Gorrie of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
The test results will be released in three months. State officials say if they don't find enough qualified candidates, Massachusetts could have a problem during the next decade when nearly half of the state's teachers reach retirement age.
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