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 teachers in Louisiana, who are licensed to teach elementary grades through grade 3, are required to take the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001) test. The test is comprised of four subtests with individual scores in math, reading and language arts, science, and social studies. Candidates must pass each subtest to be eligible for licensure.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction—Tests and Standards: As a condition of initial licensure, Louisiana 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 Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001) test contains a Reading and Language Arts subtest. The Reading and Language Arts 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. However, Louisiana's literacy competencies require all teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading.
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.
Require all teacher candidates who teach elementary grades to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
Louisiana 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.
Louisiana indicated that the extent to which teacher preparation providers prepare candidates in scientifically based reading
instruction is also part of the on-site review, which is 50% of the score for the accountability system for teacher preparation programs. This is measured in Domain 2/indicator 2.1 of the on-site review rubric (page 29).
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.