Minister to introduce replacement for qualifying test
The regulation affecting teacher certification has changed. Gone is the Ontario Teacher Qualifying Test (OTQT). Instead, new teachers will start their careers with provisional certificates and have to pass an alternate assessment before they receive a permanent certificate.
Ontario Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy announced the end of the OTQT last November. He said he would release details of an alternative assessment in June, following consultation with education stakeholders.
College Council agreed to Kennedy's request to create the new certificate - to ease the transition from the old entry-to-practice test, the OTQT - and a new form of qualifying assessment. Council approved the changes to the teacher qualifications regulation during a special meeting on February 11.
The Minister expected to tie the assessment to a proposed induction program for new teachers, something the College has long advocated. The College recommended an induction program, including mentoring, to the Ministry in its New Teacher Induction: Growing into the Profession policy paper (available on our web site at www.oct.ca).
Graduates from Ontario's faculties of education who become members of the Ontario College of Teachers will initially receive a Certificate of Qualification (Provisional). New teachers who were trained outside Ontario will receive an Interim Certificate of Qualification (Provisional).
Provisional certificate holders are fully qualified to teach in Ontario's publicly funded schools.
The granting of provisional certificates enables newly qualified teachers to seek employment and Ontario school boards to hire the teachers they need. The College is communicating with school boards across the province to ensure that employers are aware that those with provisional certificates have the same rights and responsibilities as holders of permanent certificates of qualification.
For further details on the new assessment, visit the Ministry of Education web site at www.edu.gov.on.ca.
Visiting scholar and College member Lorenzo Cherubini presented findings of his doctoral dissertation on new teacher induction and mentoring to staff from the Professional Affairs department. His study explored the experiences of a group of beginning teachers in a suburban school board, describing their reactions to the induction program, their collaborations with others and the successes, surprises, tensions and dilemmas they experienced.
Central to Cherubini's study is the idea that new teachers bring a wealth of innovative ideas and initiatives but need supportive school cultures that will foster growth and offer a safe, non-evaluative environment in which to implement and develop those ideas. Staff found his study insightful and relevant to the College's exploration of induction and mentoring for new teachers.