The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
New Hampshire does not require that teacher preparation programs for elementary teacher candidates address the science of reading. The state has neither coursework requirements nor standards related to this critical area. New Hampshire's standards do indicate that elementary teacher candidates should be able to promote student learning through the "development of student literacy, including reading instruction that leads to development of student strategies for word recognition, decoding skills and reading comprehension." However, these standards do not explicitly require that teachers receive training in the five essential components of reading instruction.
Interestingly, while the elementary teacher standards do not specify scientifically based reading instruction, the standards for certification in English Language Arts for grades 5-8 do include the five components of scientifically based reading instruction.
New Hampshire also does not require teacher candidates to pass an assessment that measures knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction prior to certification or at any point thereafter.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New Hampshire should ensure that teacher preparation programs adequately prepare elementary teacher candidates in the science of reading by requiring that these programs train candidates in the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Require teacher candidates to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
New Hampshire should 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.
New Hampshire recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that the new elementary education Praxis II test will have a subtest for reading that includes the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction. The Department of Education will bring this test forward to the State Board of Education after final review by ETS.
In a subsequent response, New Hampshire stated that the new Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects Praxis II test has been adopted by the State Board of Education. The test is available immediately and will be required beginning July 1, 2012. The Reading and Language Arts subtest includes the following topics: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency and comprehension strategies.