Adolescent Literacy: Arkansas

2017 Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that new middle school and secondary teachers are fully prepared for the instructional shifts related to literacy associated with college-and career-readiness standards. This goal was reorganized in 2017.

Best Practice

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Informational Texts: Arkansas addresses instructional shifts toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through increasingly complex informational texts and careful reading of informational and literary texts in its educator competencies for middle and secondary teachers in all core content areas.  For example, in its competencies for secondary Life Sciences teachers, the state requires:

  • "The ability to read informational texts in science and technical subjects closely and critically to analyze the key ideas and details as well as craft and structure with the purpose of integrating knowledge and ideas both within and across texts...
  • Reading and comprehending a variety of scientific and technical documents appropriate for instruction...[and]
  • Drawing evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research."
Similar requirements are found in core content area competencies such as social studies, English language arts and physical sciences.

Literacy Skills:
Arkansas's competencies for middle school and secondary teachers address literacy in other content areas. Reading competencies specifically articulated for history/social studies teachers require "the ability to read informational texts in history and social studies closely and critically to analyze the key ideas and details as well as craft and structure with the purpose of integrating knowledge and ideas both within and across texts." Similar literacy skills are incorporated into the competencies for middle grades science and technical subjects, as well as in both the life science and physical science secondary certifications.

Citation

Recommendations for Arkansas

Due to Arkansas's strong policies in this area, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

3C: Adolescent Literary 

The state should ensure that all middle and secondary teachers are sufficiently prepared for the ways that college- and career-readiness standards affect instruction in all subject areas. Specifically,

  • Middle School Preparation: The state should ensure that all new middle and secondary teachers are prepared to incorporate informational texts of increasing complexity into instruction.
  • Secondary Preparation: The state should ensure that all new middle and secondary teachers are prepared to incorporate literacy skills as an integral part of every subject.
Middle School Preparation
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if at least one of the two components is "fully addressed" and one is "partially addressed."
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one of the two components is "fully addressed" or two are "partially addressed."
Secondary Preparation
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if at least one of the two components is "fully addressed" and one is "partially addressed."
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one of the two components is "fully addressed" or two are "partially addressed."

Research rationale

States must ensure that middle school and secondary teacher preparation programs prepare teachers to incorporate complex text into instruction and student practice. These are critical years of schooling when far too many students fall through the cracks.

With that said, college- and career-readiness standards are influencing significant shifts in literacy instruction.
College- and career-readiness standards for K-12 students adopted by nearly all states require from teachers a different focus on literacy integrated into all subject areas.[1] The standards demand that teachers are prepared to bring complex text and academic language into regular use, emphasize the use of evidence from informational and literary texts, and build knowledge and vocabulary through content-rich texts. While most states have not ignored teachers' need for training and professional development related to these instructional shifts, states must also attend to the parallel need to align teacher competencies and requirements for teacher preparation so that new teachers will enter the classroom ready to help students meet the expectations of these standards.


[1] Student Achievement Partners. (2015). Research supporting the Common Core ELA/literacy shifts and standards. Retrieved from https://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Research%20Supporting%20the%20ELA%20Standards%20and%20Shifts%20Final.pdf