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Consideration of Educator Testing Requirement

To: Members, Board of Education
From: Robert V. Antonucci, Commissioner of Education
Date: October 10, 1996

Massachusetts statute establishes the following testing requirements for the certification of educators:

To be eligible for certification as [a provisional educator or] a provisional educator with advanced standing, the candidate shall provide evidence that he
  1. holds a bachelor's degree in arts or sciences from an accredited college or university with a major course in the arts or sciences appropriate to the instructional field or the equivalent baccalaureate degree;
  2. has passed a test established by the board which shall consist of two parts:
    1. a writing section which shall demonstrate the communication and literacy skills necessary for effective instruction and improved communication between school and parents; and the subject matter knowledge for the certificate;
  3. has satisfactorily completed a board of education approved teacher preparation program; and
  4. is of sound moral character. [M.G.L. c.71, s.38G]

The Regulations for the Certification of Educational Personnel in Massachusetts also state:

To be eligible for a Provisional Certificate [or Provisional Certificate with Advanced Standing], a candidate shall:
  1. hold a bachelor's degree in arts of sciences or an interdisciplinary major from an accredited college or university with an arts or sciences major appropriate to the instructional field;
  2. pass a two-part certification examination covering:
    1. communication and literacy skills;
    2. the subject matter knowledge for the certificate;
  3. present evidence of sound moral character [603 CMR 7.02(2)(a) and (b)]

Implementing the testing requirement for certification obliges us to provide candidates with proper notice. The experience of other states with testing requirements shows that at least one year's notice is advisable. One year also will provide just enough time for the Department and the successful test vendor to prepare for implementation in October 1997. This includes advertising the description of the services desired (test content, format, administration schedules, reporting of results, etc.), selecting a vendor, and allowing time for the vendor to take necessary actions.

I recommend the Board announce that the teacher testing requirement will be implemented beginning October 1, 1997. We should discuss the merits of moving forward to meet that date at the October 21 meeting and take action on the recommendation at the November 18 meeting.

Last Updated: November 10, 1996
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