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: New Hampshire's early childhood education teachers, who are licensed to teach elementary grades through grade 3, are only required to pass the Praxis Education of Young Children (5024) test, which is not a content test.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: All early childhood education teacher candidates are required to pass the Foundations of Reading test as a condition of initial licensure. This test addresses all five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. New Hampshire's early childhood preparation standards do not address scientifically based 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.
Foundations of Reading http://www.nh.nesinc.com/ Praxis Test www.ets.org/praxis Administrative Rules for Education 507.18, 612.03
Require early childhood teacher candidates to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient content knowledge of all subjects.
New Hampshire should require all early childhood teacher candidates who teach the elementary grades to pass a content test with separate passing scores for each of the core subject areas, including reading/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Although the state requires appropriate testing for elementary teachers teaching on an elementary certificate, New Hampshire creates a significant loophole by not holding early childhood teachers who teach elementary grades to the same requirements. The state's current practice of allowing teachers up through grade 3 to teach without ever having passed a content test is particularly worrisome and should be amended.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New Hampshire should require teacher preparation programs in the state to train candidates in scientifically based reading instruction to help ensure that all teachers are well prepared in the science of reading instruction before entering the classroom.
New Hampshire asserted that its early childhood preparation standards do address scientifically based reading instruction. The state also indicated that its Praxis Education of Young Children (5024) test includes a portion of content knowledge in the areas of language and literacy and mathematics.
Further, the Education of Young Children test is intended for prospective teachers of young children (birth to age 8), and was designed to align with the NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation (2009) and the Common Core State Standards. It is based on a teaching approach that emphasizes the active involvement of young children in a variety of play and child-centered activities that provide opportunities for choices, decision making, and discovery. The test is designed to assess the examinee's knowledge about pedagogy and content, the relationship of theory to practice, and how theory can be applied in the educational setting. Also included are multicultural influences; diversity; variations in development, including atypical development; and how these factors affect children's development and learning.
Each of the three constructed-response questions focus on one of the following areas: Developmentally Appropriate Practices; Professionalism, Family, and Community; Observation, Documentation, and Assessment; or Content Pedagogy and Knowledge.
The state also noted that the analysis from Goal 10A is applicable to this section as well.
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.