Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : New Mexico

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction : New Mexico results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NM-Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Reading-Instruction--6

Analysis of New Mexico's policies

New Mexico 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. Although New Mexico requires that all new teachers take coursework in the teaching of reading—elementary teachers must complete at least six credit hours, and middle and high school teachers must complete at least three credit hours—it is not explicitly stated that this coursework must include study of the five essential components of reading instruction. New Mexico also requires that education schools in the state offer at least one reading course based on scientific reading instruction; but, unfortunately, not all prospective elementary teachers are required to take the course.

However, the state has recently passed legislation mandating that, effective January 1, 2013, all elementary education candidates must pass a "rigorous assessment of the candidate's knowledge of the science of teaching reading."


Recommendations for New Mexico

Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New Mexico should ensure that teacher preparation programs adequately prepare elementary teacher candidates in the science of reading by requiring that these programs not only offer scientifically based reading courses but also requiring candidates to participate in training on the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Monitor new assessment to ensure rigor.
New Mexico is commended for its new requirement that elementary candidates must pass a science of reading assessment. The state will need to carefully select and/or develop this assessment to make sure it really is rigorous and an appropriate measure of teachers' knowledge and skill of effective reading instruction.

State response to our analysis

New Mexico was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

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:

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: 

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).