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Professor has hand in teacher preparation standards

A revision of nationwide standards by which universities prepare teachers of reading in elementary and secondary schools will be released this month, and a Miami professor is part of the eight-person team that developed it.

Allen Berger, Heckert Professor of Reading and Writing, is a member of the task force of the professional standards and ethics committee of the International Reading Association (IRA), which reviewed existing standards as well as hundreds of contributing comments from educators.

With the IRA-developed standards, NCATE, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, will accredit universities, colleges and state graduate reading education programs that meet those standards.

The goal is to improve preparation of reading teachers, reading specialists and teacher educators. The updated standards will be used for the next five years for accreditation and re-accreditation of reading education programs in about half of U.S. colleges and universities and most states.

A new focus of the standards is on performance by candidates in reading education programs: How do they show they understand the material? Evidence must be provided for the five standards:

1. Knowledge of foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction.

2. Range of instructional practices, approaches, methods and materials.

3. Variety of assessment tools to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction.

4. Creation of a literate environment by integrating all of the above.

5. Viewing professional development as a career-long responsibility.

Performance criteria address different expectations for individuals preparing to be teachers, reading specialists, teacher educators, administrators and other professionals (e.g. librarians, media specialists).

IRA is the largest literacy organization in the world with members in 99 countries. NCATE is the major organization chartered by the U. S. Department of Education to accredit teacher education programs. The groups cooperate with states to align reading education standards, Berger said, so that teachers and students are not pulled in different directions. Sometimes, he said, this takes a lot of effort.

Berger served as chair of the IRA professional standards and ethics committee for two years.

Date Published: 12/11/2003
Volume: 23   Number: 18


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