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College Advice on Teacher Testing Adopted by Government

May 11 2000

Toronto, May 11, 2000 The Ontario College of Teachers is encouraged that the governments plans for teacher testing reflect much of the College's advice forwarded to Education Minister Janet Ecker in April.

"The government has adopted a number of the recommendations that stemmed from our in-depth research and broad consultation," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "The College has made it clear that teacher testing is really about teacher competence. We looked at best practices in a number of professions in Canada and around the world and presented a proposal that ensured Ontario children will always have the best teachers possible.

Todays ministry announcement included a standardized test for new applicants for an Ontario teaching licence, an induction program for new teachers, regular and rigorous performance appraisals and a language proficiency test, all of which the College has recommended to the government.

"The College is anxious to continue the discussions with the Minister of Education on these issues as well as the teacher re-certification issue raised in her announcement today," said Kennedy.

The 15-point program for teacher testing proposed by the College last month -- Maintaining, Ensuring and Demonstrating Competency in the Teaching Profession -- included a recommendation that new applicants to the College be required to take a written test of knowledge and of the Ontario education system. It also made a number of recommendations that would support regular performance appraisals by employers.

"The Ministers announcement on language proficiency also reflects a College initiative," said Kennedy. "Last June, following extensive research and consultation, the College submitted a request to the government for a change to Regulation 184, which governs teachers qualifications. We asked that a language proficiency test be implemented for all new teachers educated in a language other than English or French. This regulation is long overdue."

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. The College also receives and investigates complaints of teacher misconduct or incompetence made by school boards and the public.

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