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: Maryland's early childhood education teachers, who are licensed to teach
elementary grades through grade 3, are required to pass the Praxis Early
Childhood: Content Knowledge (5025) test. This test does not report separate
subscores in the core content areas of language arts, math, science, or social
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: As a condition of initial licensure, Maryland now requires its early childhood candidates to pass the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education (5205) test, which addresses the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction.
In its Reading Course Revision Guidelines, Maryland requires teacher preparation 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. The state also requires reading coursework for all teacher candidates: 12 credit hours for early childhood and elementary teacher candidates and six credit hours for secondary teacher candidates. Teacher candidates or current certificate holders in early childhood may test out of state reading requirements by passing the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary (5205) test.
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 early childhood candidates who are eligible to teach
elementary grades to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient
content knowledge of all subjects.
Maryland should require all early childhood education teacher candidates who teach elementary grades to pass a core content test. Although requiring a content test is a step in the right direction, the state should require separate, meaningful passing scores for each core subject covered on the test, including reading/language arts, math, science and social studies. Use of a composite passing score offers no assurance of adequate knowledge in each subject area. A candidate may achieve a passing score and still be seriously deficient in a particular subject area.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that while the Praxis Early Childhood Test (5025) does not does not report separate sub scores in the core content areas of language arts, math, science, or social studies, it does cover all four (4) content areas.
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.