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College of Education gets high scores on state report card

4/22/2001
April 23, 2001

Federally mandated report cards are out, and Austin Peay State University's College of Education fared well in its first year of reporting.

The institutional pass rate for teacher candidates for the 1999-2000 academic year was 92 percent, which means that more than 90 percent of teacher candidates was successful the first time they took all required licensure exams.

Dr. Sutton Flynt, dean of the College of Education, said, "Although this pass rate percentage is very good, our faculty have taken steps to ensure pass rates at Austin Peay reach 100 percent."

For the first time in history, public and private Colleges of Education nationwide are required by a federal law, called Title II, to submit their teacher candidates' performance on state-mandated licensure exams. In Tennessee, Colleges of Education have submitted to the State Department of Education the scores of their 1999-2000 teacher candidates on the Praxis II teacher licensure exams.

The first statewide report from the Tennessee Department of Education, listing the performance of all teacher preparation programs across the state, will be issued in October and forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Each program will be placed in one of four quartiles based on the candidates' exam scores.

In anticipation of the Title II Report Card, APSU's Council for Teacher Education has established policy requiring that all teacher candidates must pass Praxis II licensure exams before proceeding with student teaching. Therefore, in the future, Austin Peay will have a 100 percent pass rate on all licensure exams.

"This new policy raises the bar for all teacher candidates and is a performance-based step to assure area schools that any APSU student placed in classrooms can be licensed by the state," said Flynt.

"However, at Austin Peay, we know there is much more to being a successful teacher than passing a test at one point in time, so over the past two years, the College of Education has undertaken several initiatives to improve the quality of its nationally accredited teacher preparation program."

The initiatives include starting in-the-classroom experiences in a teacher candidate's freshman year, adapting the state's Teacher Performance Assessment System for use with APSU student teachers and collaborating with P-12 teachers and administrators in redesigning teacher preparation programs for K-8 and 5-8 licensure.

According to Flynt, faculty and staff in the APSU College of Education are excited about recent program changes and are committed to helping all teacher candidates perform well on the Praxis II exams. The faculty will use Title II and other reform initiatives as a means of demonstrating to parents and to P-12 teachers and administrators that APSU graduates will be successful teaching the state's children and youth.

"Teacher preparation at Austin Peay is about children and how to help them achieve their fullest potential. The accountability measures required of teacher preparation programs under Title II are a bit narrow but necessary.

"The quality of our program's graduates can be gauged by observing the hundreds of our teachers throughout Tennessee and adjacent states whose students and administrators recognize their professionalism, dedication and caring attitude and, perhaps more important, their skill in promoting student achievement and success."