Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : Massachusetts

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of Massachusetts's policies

Massachusetts requires elementary teacher candidates to pass its own Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Foundations of Reading test, which is based on the state's standards and addresses the core areas of scientifically based reading instruction. The state's focus on ensuring that teachers know the science of reading results in one of the nation's best policies regarding teacher preparation in the critical area of reading instruction.

Massachusetts also requires teacher candidates in early childhood education, those who teach students with moderate disabilities and those who teach the visually impaired to pass its reading exam.


Recommendations for Massachusetts

State response to our analysis

Massachusetts recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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:

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: 

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).