Elementary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that new teachers who can teach elementary grades on an early childhood license possess sufficient content knowledge in all core subjects and know the science of reading instruction. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Content Test Requirements: New York requires early childhood education candidates, who are licensed to teach elementary grades through grade 2, to pass the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYTCE) Multi Subject: Teachers of Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2) test, which is comprised of three separately scored subtests. Subtest I is English Language arts, subtest II is mathematics and subtest III covers science, social studies, fine arts, health, fitness, and other subjects.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: The assessment contains a separately scored English language arts/literacy section and amounts to a stand-alone reading test.
Informational Texts: New York's framework for the NYSTCE Multi-Subjects Test: Teachers of Early Childhood assessment includes some of the instructional shifts toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through increasingly complex texts and careful reading of informational and literary texts associated with the state's college- and career-readiness standards for students. The test framework addresses "text complexity and instruction in text comprehension" and outlines the following performance indicators:
NYSTCE Test Requirements http://www.nystce.nesinc.com/PDFs/NY221_222_245_OBJ_DRAFT.pdf New York State Teacher Certification Examination www.nystce.nesinc.com
Require a content test that ensures sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Although New York is on the right track by administering a three-part licensing test, thus making it harder for teachers to pass the overall test if they fail some subject areas, we encourage the state to further strengthen its policy and require separate passing scores for each core subject on its elementary test. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Ensure that early childhood teachers are prepared to meet the instructional requirements of college- and career-readiness standards for students.
Incorporate literacy skills as an integral part of every subject.
To ensure that elementary students are capable of accessing varied information about the world around them, New York should also—either through testing frameworks or teacher standards—include literacy skills and using text to build content knowledge in history/social studies, science, technical subjects and the arts.
New York stated that Teachers of Early Childhood Education candidates are required to complete at least six semester hours in
language acquisition and literacy development by native English speakers and
students who are English language learners, and skilled in developing the
listening , speaking, reading, and writing skills of all students. In addition,
the state noted that programs must prepare candidates with a knowledge base for
assisting students in grades birth through grade 2 in meeting the state student
learning standards. The state learning standards include the New York State
P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in
History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. These standards
address literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects,
and practitioners are expected to address the incorporation of literacy skills
across core content areas.
New York indicated that the state's learning standards also include the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core that describes how practitioners are expected to address the incorporation of literacy skills across core content areas, including mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and technology. For example, applying literacy skills to the math content is embedded in the elementary school teacher's math instruction. To answer questions, students must be able to read "terms such as top, bottom, up, down, in front of, behind, over, under, and next to" as well as read terms that "name shapes regardless of size" (page 27). Similar examples in other content areas occur when teachers immerse students in academic domain specific language during their lessons, which include the use of print materials that require the application of literary skills to understand the information.
New York also cited test competencies from its Educating All Students Test:
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.