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Updated March 14, 1998
The 1991 Arkansas Act #236 established a performance-based system of evaluation for licensure that functions during the first 3 years of a new teacher's career. The focus was on aligning teacher and administrator preparation with the state's expectations for student learning. The act also initiated work from 1991-97 by the state-wide Teacher Licensing Task Force whose plans were released in January 1997 and were based on the INSTASC, NBPTS and NCATE guide lines and standards.
The plan also called for creation of the Teacher Licensure Advisory Council which was eventually formed in 1998 as a result of Arkansas Act #1108 (1997). This same act also calls for demonstrated competency in order to be granted an initial license to teach.. The Teacher Licensure Advisement Council includes teachers, administrators, higher education faculty, representatives of professional organizations, parents, and business representatives. The emerging framework and recommendations focus on a continuum of teacher development from preservice, through induction, and including career-long professional growth. There are assessments planned for measuring new teacher performance through tools which are aligned with the Arkansas State Student Learning Standards (academic). Principles and standards for new teachers are written. Mentors are mandated for all new teachers and administrators.
The remaining proposals are still in-process, but final versions of the plan must be submitted to the State Board of Education by early fall 1998 to allow revisions for legislative recommendations to be offered in 1999. The recommendations will include an induction process which utilizes full-time mentoring support (individual or team is yet to be defined). Mentors will be trained and their role will be separate from the assessment function. The assessors are to be a full-time position as well and will also receive specific training. The major task right now for the Advisory Council are the assessments for the initial teaching license. Current discussion has focused on the Praxis assessment package for basic skills, content knowledge, and Principles of Teaching and Learning.
At one time you can review the current decisions and on-going discussions on their web page but as of march 1999 the web site of the Arkansas State Department of Education has been changed & I don't yet know the URL. You can contact Donna Elliott of the State Board of Education who is the Chairperson of the Teacher Licensure Advisory Council which is developing the plan that will eventually be submitted for state legislative action and funding. She is at 501-682-4311, Arkansas Dept. of Educ., Professional Licensure, Room 106B, 4 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201.
If you are aware of incorrect statements in this material OR if you can add authoritative new information concerning mentoring and induction in the various United States, please contact Barry Sweeny with that information. His e-mail is<>.
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