Traditional Teacher Preparation Programs

Traditional teacher preparation programs are part of higher-education institutions. Currently, there are over 70 higher-education institutions offering teacher education and certification programs in California. During the 1997–1998 academic year, 19,156 teacher candidates were prepared by higher-education institutions in the state and received initial licensure. Among the teachers earning initial licensure, 4,654 obtained their first credentials. Over 14,500 had previously held certification such as a long-term emergency permit or substitute certification that authorized them to serve in classrooms. In the 1997–1998 school year, California state universities prepared 55 percent of the teachers, private or independent institutions prepared roughly 40 percent, and University of California institutions prepared 4 percent (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2000).

There are several basic requirements for enrollment in California teacher preparation programs. To enroll, an individual must take the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) for diagnostic purposes. Some institutions require individuals to pass the test prior to formal enrollment. All individuals must pass it in order to earn the teaching credential.

CBEST assesses a candidate’s proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics in the English language. Separate scores are provided for each of the three sections. All three sections must be passed, and a test taker may take one, two, or three sections at a given administration. There is no limit to the number of times a candidate may sit for the test. CBEST is offered six times a year and costs $40 each time. The testing time is approximately four hours for the entire test (50 questions each for reading and math and two writing sections). An individual taking only one or two sections of the test may use the entire four-hour period to complete the section(s) taken.

In most cases an individual must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university prior to formal enrollment in a teacher preparation program. Many institutions allow individuals to complete some of the teacher preparation courses in their undergraduate program but do not allow them to formally enroll in the program until they have earned a degree.

California has begun to allow universities to develop “blended” programs that integrate a bachelor’s degree program with a teacher preparation program. Candidates in these programs earn a preliminary credential at the time they earn their degree in an academic area. Currently there are 31 institutions of higher education with such approved programs.

State standards do not specify a GPA requirement for admittance to a teacher preparation program. However, a GPA requirement may be established within the program developed by a particular institution. For admittance into most California State University programs, a GPA at the median for the candidate’s major is typically required. To enter programs at University of California

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