conviction that all students can attain high levels of achievement (Connecticut Department of Education, 2000). This philosophy is reflected in Connecticut’s Common Core of Teaching (CCT), which is intended to present a comprehensive view of the accomplished teacher, detailing the subject-specific knowledge, skills, and competencies the state believes teachers need in order to ensure that students learn and perform at high levels. The CCT encompasses: (1) foundational skills and competencies common to all teachers from prekindergarten through grade 12 and (2) discipline-based professional standards that represent the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies (Connecticut Department of Education, 1999). The specific components of the CCT appear in Box F-5.
Connecticut’s program covers three aspects of teachers’ development: preservice training, beginning teacher induction, and teacher evaluation and continuing professional growth. The CCT guides state policies related to each of these phases, which are described below.
At the preservice phase, teacher education programs are expected to demonstrate that teacher candidates are knowledgeable about the CCT as well as the state’s achievement test batteries, the Connecticut Mastery Tests, and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (Connecticut State Department of Education, 1999). The training requirements for prospective teachers are specified in terms of a set of standards, as distinct from a list of required courses. The standards encompass the body of knowledge and skills the state believes individuals should develop as they progress through the teacher education programs. The approval process for teacher education programs is based on these standards, and teacher education programs are expected to demonstrate that students achieve them. Prospective teachers in Connecticut must pass Praxis I, have a minimum B minus average to enter a teacher preparation program, and must pass Praxis II to be recommended for initial licensure (Connecticut State Board of Education, 2000).
BEST is a comprehensive three-year induction program that is required for all beginning teachers. The program has two components: (1) support and instructional assistance through mentorship, seminars, distance learning, and support teams over a two-year period and (2) assessment of teaching performance through a discipline-specific portfolio assessment (Connecticut State Board of Education, 2000). The goals of the BEST program include:
ensuring that all students have high-quality, committed, and caring teachers;
promoting effective teaching practice leading to increased student learning;