Elementary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that new teachers who are licensed to teach elementary grades under an early childhood license demonstrate sufficient content knowledge in all core subjects and know the science of reading instruction. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Content Test Requirements: Early childhood education candidates in Connecticut, who are licensed to teach elementary grades through grade 3 (integrated early childhood/special education, nursery-K — elementary 1-3), are required to pass the Pearson Early Childhood (002) test, which primarily assesses pedagogy knowledge and is not an adequate measure of subject-matter knowledge.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: As a condition of initial licensure, all early childhood education teacher candidates in Connecticut must pass the Foundations of Reading test. The test's objectives include the five components of scientific reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Connecticut does not address the science of reading instruction in its standards for early childhood teachers; however, early childhood education candidates are required to take six semester hours of reading instruction coursework.
Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure, only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.
Test Requirements www.ct.nesinc.com https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Certification/Guide-to-Assessments-for-Educator-Certification-in-Connecticut/What-Next#MathSci Connecticut General Statutes 10-145d
Require early childhood teacher candidates to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient content knowledge of all subjects.
Connecticut should require all early childhood teacher candidates who teach the elementary grades to pass a content test with separate passing scores for each of the core subject areas, including reading/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Although the state requires appropriate testing for elementary teachers teaching on an elementary certificate, Connecticut creates a significant loophole by not holding early childhood teachers who teach elementary grades to the same requirements. The state's current practice of allowing teachers up through grade 3 to teach without ever having passed a content test is particularly worrisome and should be amended.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
Connecticut should require teacher preparation programs in the state to train candidates in scientifically based reading instruction to help ensure that all teachers are well prepared in the science of reading instruction before entering the classroom.
Connecticut was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also indicated that it offers a second early childhood license: integrated early childhood/special education, birth-kindergarten.
This goal strictly addresses early childhood licenses that allow teachers to teach elementary grades.
2D: Elementary Licensure Deficiencies
Early childhood teachers who teach elementary grades must be ready for the demands of the elementary classroom. Many states have early childhood licenses that include some elementary classroom grades, usually up to grade three. Because teachers with this early childhood license can still teach many elementary grades, they should not be held to a lower bar for subject-matter knowledge than if they held more standard elementary licenses. Given the focus on building students' content knowledge and vocabulary in college- and career-readiness standards, states would put students at risk by not holding all elementary teachers to equivalent standards. That is not to say the license requirements must be identical; there are certainly different focuses in terms of child development and pedagogy. But the idea that content knowledge is only needed by upper-grade elementary teachers is clearly false.
Focus on reading instruction is especially critical for early childhood teachers. Although some states do not ensure that any elementary teachers know the science of how to teach young children to read, in the states where this is a priority, it is inexcusable to hold elementary teachers on an early childhood license to a lower standard. Research is clear that the best defense against reading failure is effective early reading instruction. Therefore, if such licenses are neglecting to meet the needs of the early elementary classroom, of which learning to read is paramount, they are failing to meet one of their most fundamental purposes.