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New Mexico State University

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NMSU education graduates do well on teacher assessment tests

Graduates of New Mexico State University's College of Education are performing well above average on the state's three- part licensing test for public school teacher candidates.

Michael Morehead, interim dean of New Mexico State University's College of Education. (NMSU photo)

Michael Morehead, interim dean of NMSU's College of Education, said a review of the March 4 New Mexico Teacher Assessment test results showed that 97 percent of the 29 NMSU graduates who took the teacher competency portion of the test for secondary education passed it and 100 percent of those who took the elementary education portion -- 25 graduates -- passed.

Those figures outpaced the state averages of 84 percent passing the secondary education portion and 90 percent passing the elementary education portion.

NMSU's graduates also performed above state averages in the basic skills and general knowledge portions of the Teacher Assessment test. Ninety-two percent of the 51 NMSU graduates who took the basic skills portion passed, compared with the state average of 87 percent, and 82 percent of the 56 NMSU graduates who took the general knowledge portion passed, compared with the state average of 80 percent.

"The passing rate for our graduates has typically been high," Morehead said. "We're very proud of our students, our graduates and the profession of teaching."

Prospective teachers must pass three portions of the exam -- basic skills, general knowledge and teacher competency with an emphasis on elementary or secondary education -- to be licensed to teach in New Mexico public schools.

"The College of Education's preparation process is committed to developing the best qualified teachers," Morehead said. "Teachers graduating from our program are put through an extensive review process academically and while practicing in the schools.

"But it's also important to point out that a large portion of our teacher education program is supported by classes in NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences. Our students get the majority of their general knowledge and basic skills preparation from the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences," Morehead said.

The Teacher Assessment test is in its second year. Last year it was reported that only 60 percent of prospective teachers statewide passed the general knowledge portion of the test.

Morehead said 88 percent of the 91 NMSU College of Education graduates who took the state exam in 1999 passed all portions and were awarded teacher licenses. Another 12 NMSU graduates from teacher education programs outside the College of Education -- agricultural education, music education, and family and consumer sciences education -- took the 1999 exam and eight of them passed all portions, giving graduates of NMSU teacher education programs an overall 85 percent success rate.

Morehead said NMSU's College of Education continuously reviews the success rates of its students and has already made it mandatory that all undergraduates pass the basic skills portion of the test prior to doing their student-teaching. By the fall of 2001, students also will be required to pass the general knowledge portion prior to student-teaching.

"We want to ensure that our graduates succeed on the licensing exam and, more importantly, are successful working with children," Morehead said.

Photo is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto.
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PHOTO: Morehead_Michael.jpg
CUTLINE: Michael Morehead, interim dean of New Mexico State University's College of Education. (NMSU photo)

Dan Trujillo
June 14, 2000