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.
Adequate Content Knowledge: Indiana's early childhood education teachers, who are licensed to teach elementary grades through grade 3, are now required to pass the Praxis Early Childhood Assessment (5026) test. This test has two separately scored subtests: reading and English language arts and social studies and one subtest that covers math and science.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: As a condition of initial licensure, Indiana does not require its early childhood candidates to pass a reading test addressing the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The state's required Early Childhood Assessment (5026) test contains a subtest that combines reading and language arts and social studies content. This subtest assesses some, but not all of the components of the science of reading instruction, and therefore does not amount to an adequate stand-alone reading test. Additionally, the state's teacher preparation standards do not address the science of reading instruction.
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 https://www.in.nesinc.com/ Indiana Administrative Code 515 IAC 8-1-4 and 4.1 Content Standards for Educators http://www.doe.in.gov/licensing/repa-teacher-standards
Require early childhood teacher candidates to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient content knowledge of all subjects.
Indiana 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. The state is on the right track by administering a test with separately scored subtests in language arts and math, thus making it harder for teachers to pass the overall test if they fail some subject areas. However, the state should strengthen its policy and require separate, individual, passing scores for science and social science on its early childhood test. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Require all teacher candidates who teach elementary grades to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
Indiana should require a rigorous reading assessment tool to ensure that its early childhood candidates are adequately prepared in the science of reading instruction before entering the classroom. The assessment should clearly test knowledge and skills related to the science of reading and address all five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Early childhood teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
Indiana 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.
Indiana submitted two additional citations for consideration.
2D: Elementary Licensure Requirements
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.