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Late-1970s to the 1980s

Page history last edited by kml652@mail.harvard.edu 14 years ago


Late-1970s to the 1980s:  Return of Written Exams, the Rise of Alternative Certifications and a Movement Towards Recertification  


This period saw the re-emergence of state-run exams in addition to college preparation programs, as more and more states reclaimed their authority as the ‘gatekeeper’ to the teaching profession; an authority they had virtually ceded to education institutions for the past fifty years.  Candidates were tested in basic skills in writing, reading and math.  This later expanded to include tests in subject areas (Angus, 2001; Sharpe, 1964).  By the mid-1980s, states began to endorse organizations that offered alternative certification outside the education institutions, and put in place recertification requirements for existing teachers (Darling-Hammond, 1988).


The re-emergence of state exams as an additional condition for certification, and the recertification requirements arose out of public demands for accountability.  Again this period saw growing concerns over teachers’ proficiency in basic skills as many of the best women had begun to shun teaching with the rise of career opportunities outside education; this was replaced by an influx of the bottom tier high school graduates gaining access to higher education and picking teaching as a career (Sharpe, 1984).  The publication of ‘A Nation At Risk’ in 1984 fortified this movement for higher quality teachers.  As schools of education were perceived to have failed in their state-assigned function as teacher credentialer, political leaders began to use legislation as a policy tool to control teacher quality.  It was their attempt to use teacher licensure testing as a means to force education institutions to improve their students’ performance and the standards of their programs (Kinney, 1964).  A Gallup poll in 1979 saw 85% of people agreeing to the reinstitution of state-run exams (Sharpe, 1984).  In response, education schools began to institute stringent entrance requirements and include a practicum component. 


Again, Massachusetts held out against this trend until 1998 and 1999, and was one of the last states to reinstitute state-administered test and recertification requirements respectively. 



<<Return to Section 1: History of Teacher Certification in the USA and Massachusetts>>


<<Go Back to Phase III: Turn of the Century to the 1960s>>


<<Go to Section 1: Conclusion & References>>


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