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Tests for teachers

From May 1, all new teachers must pass English as well as maths exams, reports Diana Hinds Not content with maths tests for trainee teachers, the Government has devised a new literacy exam to put them through their paces in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

The new English test came into effect in February 2001, and all trainees expecting to complete their courses after May 1 must pass both this and the maths test in order to gain Qualified Teacher Status prior to their induction period. From September 1, trainees can also look forward to a third test, in ICT skills.

Last year 93 per cent of trainees passed the new numeracy exam. The literacy test, developed by the Teacher Training Agency and the East London Assessment Group at a cost of pound;325,000, will be taken on computers in 45 centres around thecountry; teachers can register and book a date for the test via the Internet. It is 45 minutes long (a bit longer for teachers for whom English is not a first language), and teachers are allowed four attempts.

Much of the content is devoted to modern education-speak. For instance, teachers must be able to spell "words in their professional vocabulary", says the TTA ("fulfilled", "strategies", "effect" and "queuing", are some of the examples given). They must be able to punctuate, understand and analyse education documents (for example, a passage on beacon schools). They must be able to identify the grammatical errors in sentences, such as "I believe that every one of them are capable of moving on to educational work now."

For benchmark tests and support materials see: www.canteach.gov.uk.

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