The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
In its standards for elementary teacher preparation, Alabama
requires teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading.
Programs must provide training in the five instructional components of
scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, as identified by the Alabama Reading Initiative.
Further, Alabama has recently approved a science of reading testing requirement. As of September 1, 2012, all elementary teachers must pass the newly developed Praxis II "Teaching Reading" assessment.
Monitor new Praxis II assessment to ensure rigor.
Alabama is commended for its long commitment to effective reading instruction and for adding a licensure test to bolster its preparation requirements. However, the state will need to monitor this new assessment to make sure it really is rigorous and an appropriate measure of teachers' knowledge and skill of scientifically based reading instruction. The track record of Praxis assessments in this regard is mixed at best, and although the test description seems on track, the sample test questions leave some room for doubt.
Alabama was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.