Western grads gets highest marks

Mai Hoang

Kentucky’s public schools now have proof that those who graduate from Western will be more ready to teach reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

The Educational Testing Service, a national teacher assessment testing organization, reported that 99 percent of Western’s teacher education students who graduated during the 2001-2002 school year received a passing score on the Praxis II teacher assessment.

Students who take Praxis II are tested on their knowledge of the subject material they plan to teach, such as music or math, and their knowledge of how to teach the material.

Provost Barbara Burch said the high pass percentage for the Praxis II assessment reflects well on faculty efforts to produce prepared, well-qualified teachers.

Western graduates and certifies the largest number of teachers out of all the state institutions, she said.

“One of the historical missions of Western Kentucky University is to prepare highly-qualified teachers for elementary and secondary schools,” Burch said.

Out of the 287 students, only two did not get a passing score. Western’s percentage is higher than any other Kentucky public university and is the highest percentage Western has ever received, said Sam Evans, dean of the College of Education.

University of Louisville students had the next best percentage at 98 percent.

In Kentucky, any student who does not have a passing score on the Praxis II test cannot be certified to teach.

Out of all the 304 Western students who took the exam during the 2000-2001 school year, 279, or 92 percent, received a passing score.

Evans said faculty both in and out of the teacher education program have taken steps to help students prepare.

One example is having faculty throughout the university attend workshops to learn about Praxis II. Faculty also personally work with students to help them prepare for the exam.

President Gary Ransdell said he was pleased with the number of students who took the exam, and the results.

“When we talk about leading this state and being nationally competitive, this is a great example,” Ransdell said.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]