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A review of court decisions concerning the dismissal of college students from professional programs revealed that courts upheld school decisions when the institution followed its own published processes and the student's rights had been observed. In the wake of four lawsuits, a Washington university initiated three processes to protect the institution from litigation concerning admission to and dismissal from its teacher education program. A professional skills lab screens out program applicants and introduces faculty to the skills and needs of prospective students. A theory of identifying personality types is presented, and small groups of students are given situations they might encounter as teachers and are asked to come to consensus about what they would do in such situations. Faculty observe and record. Students who show insufficient potential for teaching are identified and counseled out of the program. At the lab, a manual apprising students of their rights and responsibilities and the monitoring process used is distributed. Students sign a receipt acknowledging they received the manual and promised to read it. In addition, a system was developed in which faculty record anecdotally any incidents that cause them concern. These are sent to the program director who tracks student progress and meets with students to discuss concerns. Since initiating this process, not one student has been dropped from the program after being admitted, and no lawsuits have been filed against the institution. (Contains 22 references). (TD)

Descriptors: Admission Criteria, College Students, Court Litigation, Due Process, Evaluation Methods, Higher Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Program Descriptions, School Policy, Student Evaluation, Student Rights, Teacher Characteristics

Autor: Lemke, June Canty


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