Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : Missouri

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 : Missouri results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MO-Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Reading-Instruction--6

Analysis of Missouri's policies

In its standards for preparation of elementary teachers, Missouri 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.

Missouri also requires elementary teacher candidates to pass a general test in the Praxis II series that covers reading instruction. However, two studies of Praxis reading tests have deemed most tests in this series inadequate for assessing knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction.

Citation

Recommendations for Missouri

Require teacher candidates to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
While Missouri is commended for requiring teacher preparation programs to address 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

Missouri recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is currently considering the adoption of a multi-subject elementary content test that will report subscores in reading, language arts, social studies, science and mathematics. 

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).