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Delaware Raises Teacher-Prep Admissions Requirement

Delaware lawmakers have passed a bill that would raise admissions standards for entry into the state's teacher-preparation programs, among other changes. Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, is expected to sign it.

The bill would require prospective teachers to hold a grade point average of at least 3.0, or a GPA in the top 50th percentile for coursework completed during the most recent two years of education, whether in high school or college. Alternatively, they could achieve a minimum score on a standardized test normed to the general college-bound population. (Many teacher exams are set at the secondary level for content knowledge.)

There's a bit of flexibility built in: Preparation programs could waive these admissions requirements for up to 10 percent of the students admitted.

The bill also would require candidates to pass a performance-based assessment before being granted their initial, three-year teaching license; require teacher-preparation programs to report on the performance of their graduates; and require them to assess their candidates on an ongoing basis using a system aligned to the statewide teacher-evaluation system.

As I wrote for a recent Education Week story, raising entry standards for teacher preparation is controversial partly because of fears that such requirements will harm the ability to recruit minority candidates who are already in short supply in K-12 education.

You may wonder how Delaware's new requirements stack up to other states. Surprisingly, there's no public database that lists what states' entry-requirements are: States guard this stuff like it's the last of the Easter candy.

Here, compiled partly from National Council on Teacher Quality records and partly from our own research, are state minimum grade point averages for admissions into undergraduate teaching programs. (The list doesn't include basic-skills tests or any requirements set at the institutional level.)

It's not a comprehensive list, so if you have a minute, please leave your own state's policies, with citation, in the comments field, so we can get the full picture.

Alabama: 2.5
Arkansas: 2.5
Connecticut: 2.7 (can be waived)
Florida: 2.5
Georgia 2.5
Kentucky: requires cumulative GPA of 2.75 or a 3.0 GPA for last 30 hours of credit completed
Michigan: requires a "C average"
Mississippi: 2.75 for premajor coursework, 3.0 for each cohort
Missouri: 2.75
New Jersey: 2.5
Oklahoma: 3.0 (can waive out with passage of a test)
Pennsylvania: 3.0 in prior coursework, or 2.8 with qualifying scores on a test
South Carolina: 2.5, but program directors can go as low as 2.25
Tennessee: 2.5
Texas: 2.5, but candidates must also pass an exam normed to the college-going population
Wisconsin: 2.5, but programs can accept 10 percent of candidates that do not pass basic-skills tests

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