The state should ensure that its teacher preparation programs provide elementary teachers with a broad liberal arts education, the necessary foundation for teaching to the Common Core Standards.
Indiana has adopted the Common Core Standards, and the state is on the right track in ensuring that its elementary teacher candidates are adequately prepared to teach the rigorous content associated with these standards.
Indiana has also recently adopted the new Praxis II "Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects" content test with the following four subtests: reading and language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. Beginning in December 2011, candidates will have the option of taking either the "Multiple Subjects" test or taking both "Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment" and "Reading Specialist." As of September 1, 2012, only the "Multiple Subjects" test will be accepted.
Commendably, Indiana has recently adopted new elementary teacher standards that include a comprehensive list of topics, such as American, world and children's literature; fine arts; and Indiana and U.S. history. The standards for science include fundamental concepts of physical science, Earth and space science, and life science.
Indiana now also requires that elementary teacher candidates earn either a content major or minor. Although this is an important requirement in that it ensures that teacher candidates have taken higher-level academic coursework, and it provides an option for teacher candidates unable to fulfill student teaching or other professional requirements to still earn a degree, it does not guarantee that the courses chosen by elementary teacher candidates will prepare them in the topics relevant to the PK-6 classroom. Further, there is no assurance that arts and sciences faculty will teach liberal arts classes to elementary teacher candidates.
Indiana Administrative Code 515 IAC 8-1-1.4 Elementary Generalist Content Standards http://www.doe.in.gov/educatorlicensing/pdf/ElementaryGeneralist.pdf Praxis II www.ets.org
Require a content test that ensures sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Indiana should ensure that its new subject-matter test for elementary teacher candidates is well aligned with the Common Core Standards, which represent an effort to significantly raise the standards for the knowledge and skills American students will need for college readiness and global competitiveness. Further, to be meaningful, Indiana should also ensure that the passing scores on each subtest reflect high levels of performance.
Ensure that arts and sciences faculty teach liberal arts coursework.
Although an education professor is best suited to teach effective methodologies in subject instruction, faculty from the university's college of arts and sciences should provide subject-matter foundation.
Indiana was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The state added that it has contracted with Pearson to develop all new teacher licensing exams that are based on the new teacher standards, which are based on the Common Core Standards and the state's Academic Standards.