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Massachusetts Teachers-to-Be Tripped Up on Test

When Massachusetts officials decided to make this the first year teaching candidates would be tested for certification, they could hardly have predicted the outcome: At least one-third of the candidates failed.

Results of the April literacy test were released last Friday. The number of failures could increase pending a final determination by the Massachusetts Board of Education of what qualifies as a passing score.

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Acting Education Commissioner Frank Haydu III called the results "painful," noting that the test was easier than the new 10th-grade statewide tests.

Samples made available at a press conference showed some test-takers, when trying to rewrite sentences, misspelled words a fourth-grader should know - even though the words were right in front of them. Some wrote at a fifth- or sixth-grade level. Many wrote sentences lacking both nouns and verbs.

College students were told only a week in advance that the test would count. Candidates who didn't pass the test can't teach in regular public schools until they do.