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College Advises Minister on Teacher Testing Program

April 13 2000

Toronto – The Ontario College of Teachers today released Maintaining, Ensuring and Demonstrating Competency in the Teaching Profession, the regulatory body’s advice to Education Minister Janet Ecker on the government’s proposal for a program of teacher testing.

The College proposes a comprehensive 15-point competency program – including a written test for all new applicants for an Ontario teaching licence and a formal assessment process for teachers pursuing additional qualifications.

The Minister requested the College’s input in November following the initial announcement by the Premier in April 1999. Chair Donna Marie Kennedy and other senior College officials met with the Minister this morning to brief her on the College’s advice.

"The 15-point plan we are proposing – including the entry to the profession test -- is based on quality assurance programs that regulatory bodies in Ontario and around the world have successfully put in place as an integral part of educating, training and certifying professionals," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "The plan we have put together responds to the five parameters identified by the Minister, effectively protects the public, and is based on a solid review of the research and a structured consultation process."

The College conducted thorough national and international research, released a consultation paper in February and led an intensive consultation over a three-week period in February and March to meet the government’s tight deadline. All of the education partners identified by the Minister were invited to participate. The data was gathered from three sources – structured consultation sessions with education stakeholders, position papers from designated stakeholder groups and responses from interested organizations and finally web site, fax, e-mail and hand-delivered responses.

Key recommendations of the College’s report to the Minister include:

  • refining the policies and processes for the accreditation of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs
  • a written assessment of knowledge related to the Ontario curriculum and education legislation and policy for new applicants to the Ontario College of Teachers
  • a two-year induction program – with core components defined by the College – for beginning teachers
  • a return-to-practice program for teachers following a break in employment in education of five years or more
  • a requirement that teachers develop professional growth plans and professional portfolios and that the currency of the portfolio be reported to the College every five years
  • revising the Education Act to define the core elements of a performance appraisal process for teachers, which would be harmonized across the province
  • a requirement that the performance appraisal process include a regular review of the professional portfolio
  • a requirement that employers notify the College following the termination of employment of a member of the College for reasons of incompetence.

The program is part of the College effort over the three years since it was created to ensure the accountability of the teaching profession. Since 1997, the College has:

  • adopted the first Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession in Ontario and a professional misconduct regulation
  • recommended changes to Regulation 184 – teacher qualifications, including language proficiency requirement, and a requirement that the undergraduate degree relates to the area in which the teacher intends to qualify
  • submitted to the Minister a proposed regulation on the accreditation of teacher education programs
  • has moved to the final stages of development of a professional learning framework.

The College of Teachers is a self-regulating body created by the Ontario Legislature to regulate the teaching profession in the public interest. It sets ethical and professional standards for teachers, establishes teaching qualifications and accredits education program providers and programs.

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For more information:
Denys Giguère
Media Relations Officer
416-961-8800, ext. 221
1-888-534-2222, ext. 221

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