Majority of city's trainee teachers flunked literacy testsHow do you spell illiterate?
A majority of students training at scores of New York colleges to become teachers flunked a literacy test they have to pass to be licensed, new figures show.
The state Board of Regents for the first time is requiring would-be teachers to pass the Academic Literacy Skills exam.
It measures whether a prospective teacher can understand and analyze reading material and also write competently. The results show many don't belong anywhere near a classroom.
At Boricua College in The Bronx, 13 students took the literacy test. Not a single one passedAt a half-dozen City University campuses, about half or more failed to make the grade.
Only 29 percent passed at York College in Queens, where there were 68 test takers.
Just one-third of the 21 test takers at Brooklyn's Medgar Evers College passed.
The pass rate was only 41 percent at CUNY's College of Technology in Brooklyn; 47 percent at Lehman College in The Bronx; 51 percent at City College; 54 percent at Brooklyn College and 55 percent at the College of Staten Island. CUNY vowed better results going forward.
"We are not satisfied with these results, and we are working closely with our college presidents, education deans and others to ensure we do all we can to produce the quality teachers the city requires and deserves," said CUNY Chancellor James Milliken.
Modal TriggerStudents at CUNY's larger, flagship programs fared better: 82 percent passed at Hunter College, 72 percent at Baruch and 63 percent at Queens College.
Students also flunked badly at several private colleges. The pass rate was only 28 percent at Mercy College's Bronx campus, 30 percent at Concordia College in Bronxville and 34 percent at The College of New Rochelle.
Even at colleges that fared better, there were disparities among campuses. For example, 73 percent of students at St. John's University's main Queens campus passed the test, but only 18 percent did so at its Staten Island branch.
The pass rate statewide was 68 percent. Students who failed can pay a fee to retake the test.
State Education Commissioner John King said New York needs better-prepared teachers, and the findings show many teacher-prep programs need to straighten out — or shut down.
"It's better to have fewer programs that better prepare teachers than having many schools that have teachers who are unprepared for the classroom," King said.
The low-performing colleges will have to come up with corrective-action plans, which could include tightening admission policies or providing more academic support for students.
The state provided teacher-training colleges $11.5 million to help prepare for the new standards. Under those standards, students must pass with a score of 80 for each of the new exams, which also measure actual teaching skills and content knowledge for their subject areas.