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News Brief

11/13/13

Rhode Island Board of Education Adopts New Standards for Teacher Preparation

Providence Journal (11/13/13) Borg, Linda

The Rhode Island Board of Education has adopted new standards for teacher preparation programs for the first time since 2001, and colleges or universities not meeting the new standards could lose state approval. The standards require each cohort or class of teacher candidates score in the top 50 percent of college entrance exams, like the SAT, starting in 2016-17 school year, and must score in the top third on these assessments by 2020. In each class of candidates, the grade-point average (GPA) must be 3.0 or higher for admission into teacher preparation programs, though it does not mean each teacher has to have a 3.0 GPA. For undergraduate programs, individual students must have at least a 2.75 GPA, and in graduate programs, candidates must have a 3.0 GPA. The standards place greater emphasis on following new teachers after graduation, calling on colleges to measure how effective they are in the classroom. The new Rhode Island teacher evaluation will be used to gauge novice teacher performance, but teachers will not be judged solely on students' NECAP performance, undergoing classroom observations, providing examples of their work, and showing how they contribute to the school culture. State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist has helped push for greater expectations in teacher programs since 2009. Starting in 2017, new teachers will receive three-year certificates, advancing to five-year certificates if they continue to get satisfactory evaluations, and Rhode Island is one of only eight states that ties teacher effectiveness to license renewal.
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