TAMIU's College of Ed Programs Post High Passage Rate, Lead Hispanic Teacher Production

Teacher education candidates from Texas A&M International University's College of Education have posted a 77% first-time passage rate on the State Board for Educator Certification's (SBEC) educator certification exams known as the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCet), the highest passage rate in over four years. The passage rate maintains the College's accreditation status for all programs.

In addition, the College of Education continues to lead the Texas A&M University System in the preparation and graduation of Hispanic teachers.

Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, dean of the College of Education, said the accomplishment speaks well of the College's program and efforts to prepare teacher candidates for the ExCet.

"We have implemented a rigid system of student advisement with all of our faculty working on a one-on-one basis with candidates. In addition, support provided by The Texas A&M University System Regent's Initiative for Education has helped to provide crucial resources to build and better our teacher recruitment and retention programs. These resources, coupled with collaborations with our local districts and community colleges, have helped to make this benchmark possible for our accredited program," Dr. Vida explained.

The College has also surpassed its productivity targets for teacher candidates, and continues to be the A&M System's leader in producing Hispanic teacher candidates, she noted.

"We had set a target total last year of 210 teacher candidates and instead produced 288. For Hispanic teacher candidates, we had targeted 182 and produced 266, leading the System in comparison to our institution's size," she explained.

The College's production of Hispanic teachers first gained recognition in 1999, when SBEC commended the University for its "Achievement in Teacher Candidate Diversity" when 92% of all teachers prepared and tested were Hispanics. In 2002, 96% of teachers prepared and tested were Hispanics.

Vida said she believes that interest in the University's teacher education programs will only grow and that teaching continues to offer a rewarding career opportunity.

"According to US Census figures released this week, Hispanics are now the fastest growing minority in the nation. There continues to be a tremendous need for teachers who can deliver pivotal programs like bilingual education, science and early childhood education. With the federal commitment to ''Leave No Child Behind,' we expect to continue to see additional resources allocated to increase teacher recruitment and retention. In our service area, the University and its accredited programs continue to be the primary source of preparation for area teachers. It is a rewarding and deeply satisfying career that we believe our teacher candidates are well prepared for," she said.

In response to student requests and the continuing teacher shortage, the College will soon reactivate an Alternative Teacher Certification Program which enables degree-holding individuals to begin a career in teaching while completing core education courses at the University. Local and area school districts partner with the University to make the program possible.

For additional information on the accredited programs of TAMIU's College of Education, please contact Vida at 326.2420, visit offices in Killam Library 329 or e-mail to rmvida@tamiu.edu

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu