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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Princeton achieves 100 percent pass rate on state teaching exams

All Princeton University students who took New Jersey's teaching-certification exams last year passed the tests, the university's Program in Teacher Preparation has reported.

Colleges and universities with teacher-preparation programs were required by law to report this week on their programs for the 1999-2000 academic year. In that year, 20 students completed Princeton's program and received New Jersey Certificates of Advanced Standing. To receive that certification, the 20 students took a total of 25 tests as part of New Jersey's Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers (PRAXIS). Princeton students passed all their exams.

"We are extremely proud of our student teachers, who manage to meet both the high standards and heavy workload of our Teacher Preparation Program and the rigorous demands placed upon all Princeton students," said John Webb, who was appointed director of the program in July. "As today's report demonstrates, they perform with great distinction."

In another illustration of their success, three alumni of the Princeton program are among 15 recipients of the Commissioner's Distinguished Teacher Candidate Award, to be presented May 9 by the state Department of Education. Jason Booher, Jennifer Jennings and Tara Maja McGowan, are receiving the honor, which recognizes the year's top graduates of New Jersey teacher preparation programs.

Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program, established in 1967, is an interdepartmental course of study that prepares undergraduates to become certified teachers at the elementary and secondary levels. Students in the program fulfill the regular University requirements and those of their respective departments of concentration. In addition, the program requires specific courses, readings, colloquia and student-teaching experiences in classroom throughout the region.

The potent combination of Princeton's liberal-arts studies and focused instruction on teaching is meant to prepare teachers who will provide intellectual and moral leadership for the nation's schools in the 21st century -- a need which continues to grow each year. Major school districts around the country are reporting shortages of qualified teachers.

Thirty-nine juniors and seniors are enrolled in the program this year. In addition to classroom activities required in the program, the juniors spend 18 hours shadowing high school students who have agreed to host them -- attending classes and eating lunch together in the cafeteria. The Princeton students perform 12 hours of fieldwork in the junior year, including teaching at least one lesson.

As seniors, the Princeton students continue to participate in seminars and colloquia about education. About half of the seniors do eight weeks of practice teaching during this time, while the others return after graduation to complete that requirement.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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