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Lee Kem, Advising Education Majors Co-Chair

'What do you mean I can’t student teach? I’ve completed almost all my courses! You can’t do this to me!'

How can a student reach this point in the program without meeting the basic admission requirements? If we permit students to begin taking education classes, where is the line drawn beyond which the student cannot enroll in additional courses without meeting admission requirements? Do we, as advisors and educators, have a responsibility to help students meet the admission requirements? What approaches have been utilized and how effective are these strategies?

An e-mail polled the NACADA Advising Education Majors Commission list serve regarding these questions.

1: What test/scores are required for admission to teacher education? Results ranged from:

  • ACT. High: Sub scores Reading 27, English 25, Math 27. Low: 21 composite score
  • PPST (Praxis I). Sub scores: Reading 178 – 172, Writing 176 – 171, Math 178 – 173. Composite score: 526 – 516.
  • Other instruments used: CLAST, THEA, CBEST, WEST-B, C-BASE

2: When must requirements be met? Results ranged from:

  • Prior to semester student enrolls in upper division education courses
  • By end of sophomore year/beginning of junior year

3: How many credit hours of education courses can be taken before full admission status is granted? Results range:

  • 3 - 60 credit hours
  • most in the 3-15 credit hour range

4: What is available to assist students in meeting the General Academic Proficiency (GAP) requirement?

  • Tutoring Centers; faculty or peer tutoring
  • Remedial courses
  • PLATO – Web-based program
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Learning Plus
  • Workshops for Praxis I

5: If students cannot meet the GAP requirement, what options are available?

  • Student advised to change major
  • Student changes university
  • Student blocked from taking further education courses until meet requirement

As a regional open enrollment university, Murray State University permits students with an ACT composite score below 21 to begin taking education courses. Students are not permitted to enroll in practica courses (the 16 required credit hours taken the semester prior to student teaching) without admission into teacher education. Most denials result from failure to meet the GAP requirement.

The concept of blocking practica enrollment is troublesome. Why has the student been permitted to continue in the program to this point? What has been done to assist the student? How could the stress and trauma of ‘blocking’ be alleviated or reduced? In the past, MSU has tried tutoring and remedial courses with limited success and a new approach was needed.

Our new policy is based on the premise that there are excellent future teachers who have difficulty passing the GAP admissions requirements. Astin (1999) maintains that it is our responsibility to be a ‘talent developer’ of students. Public schools are guided by the philosophy of ‘No Child Left Behind’. In the same vein, McCabe (in Callan, 2000) supports ‘No One to Waste’ suggesting that we must provide opportunities and resources for college students to be successful. Astin (1998) argues for a paradigm shift from ‘identifying smart students’ to ‘developing smartness’ so no future teacher is wasted.

The new MSU plan addresses teacher education admission in the freshman orientation course as suggested by Boylan (1999). A lab component is now included that focuses on test preparation through discussion groups and lab practice. Discussions concentrate on time and stress management, study skills, and test taking strategies. Participants construct knowledge and develop analytical and critical thinking skills as they discuss of the ‘hows and whys’ of test questions. As participants take responsibility for discussion and practice, the paradigm shifts from instruction to learning (Barr & Tagg, 1995). Feedback for this semester’s pilot test group has been very positive with participants stating that the discussions about the ‘hows and whys’ of test questions are most helpful.

The Advising Education Commission would like to hear the strategies used on your campus to solve this dilemma. Let us know on our list-serve.

Lee Kem
Murray State University
lee.kem@coe.murraystate.edu

References

Astin, A.W. (1998) Remedial education and civic responsibility. National Crosstalk, 6(2), 12-13 Retrieved from http://highereducation.org/crosstalk/pdf/ctsummer98.pdf

Astin, A. W. (1999, Spring). Rethinking academic “excellence”. Liberal Education, 7-18.

Barr, R B., & & Tagg, J. (1995) From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change Magazine, 27 (6), 13-15. Retrieved from http://critical.tamucc.edu/~blalock/readings/tch2learn.htm

Boylan, H.R. (1999). Exploring alternatives to remediation. Journal of Developmental Education, 22 (3), 204-10. Retrieved from http://www.ced.appstate.edu/centers/ncde/reserve%20reading/V22-3alternatives%20to%20remediation.htm

Callan, P. M. (2000, Fall). An interview: Robert McCabe. National Crosstalk, Retrieved from http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct1000/interview1000.shtml

Cite this article using APA style as: Kem, L. (2004, June). Strategies for helping education majors meet program requirements. Academic Advising Today, 27(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]

Posted in: 2004 June 27:2

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