Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : New York

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of New York's policies

New York 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 York does require that all candidates complete six credit hours in language acquisition and literacy development of native English speakers and English language learners in developing listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. These regulations do not specifically address the five essential components of reading instruction.

However, elementary teachers in New York are required to pass the Multi-Subject Content Specialty Test (CST), which addresses the five components of the science of reading. However, the science of reading is just part of one subsection, and because subscores are reported for informational purposes only, candidates could do poorly in this area and still pass the test.


Recommendations for New York

Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New York 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.

Ensure that the state's reading assessment adequately measures skills related to the science of reading instruction.
As part of its assessment, New York should report a subscore specifically for the science of reading. Elementary teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.

State response to our analysis

New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is in the process of developing new teacher certification assessments, which will test candidates' knowledge of the P-12 Common Core learning standards. Further, New York noted that the new content assessments for elementary and common branch teachers will be designed to test for knowledge of English language arts and literacy, mathematics and science, and arts separately. A passing score on each section will be required. 

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).