Panel links new testing to training of teachers

January 29, 1998|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

The Maryland State Board of Education pledged yesterday to delay graduation tests to be required for the Class of 2004 unless teachers are adequately trained in the curriculum, and unless students who fall below grade level are given remedial help.

In a unanimous vote, the board passed a resolution addressing concerns raised last month when the board decided to require passing the tests for high school graduation. The board also resolved that local school districts would not have to pay the bill for the measure regarded as crucial to improving high schools.

"If we don't get the money, I am going to make a motion to rescind the high school assessments," said board Vice President Edward Andrews, who was adamant about the need for mandatory remedial classes and teacher preparation.

The assurances included:

Remedial instruction, particularly in mathematics and reading, will be mandatory for all students, in kindergarten through 12th grade, who are falling behind, beginning in the 1999-2000 school year.

The State Department of Education will develop a teacher training program that will focus on improved practices and learning goals established by the state as the basis for core subjects.

The education department will confront problems stemming from improper or inadequate teacher certification, including people teaching subjects other than those they are certified in or those with provisional certificates.

Although plans for the tests are being developed, the state intends to begin testing students who enter ninth grade in September 2000 in English, math and social studies. Eventually, high school students will have to pass 10 tests in four core subjects to graduate.

The tests are intended to be much more rigorous than the current functional tests.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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