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.
Content Test Requirements: Minnesota only requires its early childhood education teacher candidates, who are licensed to teach through grade 3, to pass the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) Early Childhood Education test, which not only combines
content with a pedagogy assessment but also does not report teacher performance
in each subject area, meaning that it is possible to pass the test and still
fail some subject areas. The test is comprised of two subtests: The first combines language and literacy, and mathematics learning; the second combines development of children from birth-age 5 and learning in the content areas.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: The Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) Early Childhood Education test contains the equivalent of a stand-alone test that addresses the science of reading. Although reading language arts is combined with mathematics into one subtest, the reading language arts portion comprises 75% of the subtests score making it unlikely that a candidate could fail this section and still pass the subtest. Additionally, Minnesota's preparation standards 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.
MTLE www.mtle.nesinc.com Minnesota Administrative Rules 8710.3000
Require early childhood teacher candidates to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient content knowledge of all subjects.
Minnesota should require all early childhood education teacher candidates, who are licensed to teach elementary grades, to pass an elementary content test that includes separate, meaningful passing scores for each core subject, including reading/language arts, math, science and social studies.
Minnesota had no comment on this goal.
2D: Elementary Licensure Deficiencies
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.