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More states affected by testing errors

MONTEREY, CALIF. - An error by a national testing company that may have sent almost 9,000 New York City kids to summer school or held them back a grade has also affected results in three other states. School administrators in Nevada, South Carolina, and Wisconsin were informed last week that their national percentile rankings were wrong. Past errors in other states by CTB McGraw Hill also have had damaging results. CTB, Harcourt Educational Measurement, and Houghton Mifflin Co.'s subsidiary Riverside Publishing are known as the "Big Three," together administering more than 100 million tests each year. Monty Neill, who heads the National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Cambridge, Mass., said that despite recent problems, CTB is neither better nor worse than its competitors.

Gates offers $1 billion in scholarships

LOS ANGELES -Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates pledged $1 billion last week for a scholarship fund aimed at financially needy but academically talented minority students. The gift, one of the largest in history, is meant to boost prospects for success by minorities in technical fields. The fund, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will underwrite 20,000 scholarships over 20 years and offers a rejoinder to critics who have accused Gates of being slow to share his vast personal fortune, valued at $100 billion. Beginning in fall 2000, the $50 million annual Gates Millennium Scholars Program will support students from the undergraduate through PhD level in science, engineering, mathematics, education, and library sciences. High school seniors, college students, and college graduates going on to advanced training in the targeted fields will be eligible in the first year, after which only high school seniors will be considered.

Tougher teacher standards in N.Y.

ALBANY, N.Y. - New teachers hoping to work in New York will have to meet more rigorous standards, state officials announced last week. The state Board of Regents approved a plan that will require teachers to have a degree in the subject they want to teach, to have taken core courses in the liberal arts and sciences, and to participate in professional development while teaching. The new requirement will begin with the fall 2000 college freshman class.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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