Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : Alabama

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction : Alabama results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AL-Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Reading-Instruction--6

Analysis of Alabama's policies

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. 


Citation

Recommendations for Alabama

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.

State response to our analysis

Alabama was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

Research rationale

For evidence on what new teachers are not learning about reading instruction, see NCTQ, "What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning" (2006) at:
http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_reading_study_app.pdf

For problems with existing reading tests, see S. Stotsky, "Why American Students Do Not Learn to Read Very Well: The Unintended Consequences of Title II and Teacher Testing," Third Education Group Review 2 No. 2 (2006); and D. W. Rigden, Report on Licensure Alignment with the Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction (Washington, D.C.: Reading First Teacher Education Network, 2006) at: 
http://www.tegr.org/Review/Articles/vol2/v2n2.pdf.

For information on where states set passing scores on elementary level content tests for teacher licensing across the U.S., see chart on p. 13 of NCTQ "Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Removing the Roadblocks: How Federal Policy Can Cultivate Effective Teachers," (2011).