Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : Louisiana

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

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

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

Analysis of Louisiana's policies

In its reading and language competencies, Louisiana requires all teacher preparation programs, including elementary 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. Louisiana also requires all teacher candidates to study reading instruction:

  • Elementary teacher candidates must take nine credit hours in reading.
  • Middle school teacher candidates must take six credit hours in reading.
  • Secondary teacher candidates must take three credit hours in reading.
External evaluators review all reading courses in university teacher preparation programs to determine if the courses adequately address all of the competencies.

However, Louisiana does not require teacher candidates to pass a reading assessment prior to certification or at any point thereafter to verify that they have been effectively trained in the science of reading instruction.

Citation

Recommendations for Louisiana

Require teacher candidates to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
Although Louisiana is commended for requiring all teachers to take reading instruction coursework addressing the science of reading, the state should also require a rigorous reading assessment tool to ensure that its elementary teacher 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 if it is combined with an assessment that also tests general pedagogy or elementary content, it should report a subscore for the science of reading specifically. Elementary teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.

State response to our analysis

Louisiana asserted that effective September 1, 2010, all early childhood, elementary and special education alternate route teacher candidates must pass the Praxis II "Teaching Reading" assessment for issuance of a level one certificate. 

Last word

Louisiana should extend its policy and require that all teacher candidates demonstrate requisite knowledge in the science of reading instruction by passing a rigorous assessment prior to licensure. 

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).