Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
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.
http://www.dese.mo.gov/divteachqual/teached/competencies/elem_englarts.pdf Stotsky, S. (2006). 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; Rigden, D.W. (2006). Report on Licensure Alignment with the Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction. Washington, DC: Reading First Teacher Education Network.
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.
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.