Licensure Deficiencies: New York

Elementary Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

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.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2020). Licensure Deficiencies: New York results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NY-Licensure-Deficiencies-90

Analysis of New York's policies

Content Test Requirements: New York requires early childhood education candidates, who are certified 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 literacy and English language arts; subtest II is mathematics; and subtest III covers science, social studies, the arts/health/fitness/family, and consumer science/career development.

Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: New York's early childhood education assessment contains a separately scored English language arts/literacy section. This subtest does not address the science of reading and therefore does not amount to a stand-alone reading test. The state'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.

Citation

Recommendations for New York

Require all teacher candidates who teach elementary grades to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
New York should require a rigorous reading assessment tool to ensure that its early childhood 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 address all five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Early childhood teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.

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 teacher preparation programs prepare early childhood education candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New York 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.

State response to our analysis

New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state added that it has articulated teaching standards that its approved teacher preparation programs must use to frame instruction in early childhood and elementary instruction in literacy and ELA content. The teaching standards are driven by the State Learning Standards. Early Childhood and Childhood Education candidates must be prepared to teach the State Learning Standards in ELA identified in Part 100 of the Commissioner's Regulations.

Specifically, the content core for preparation in early childhood education (birth-grade 2) is found in Part 52.21(b)(3)(i)(a):

(a) Content core. In addition to meeting the general requirements for the content core prescribed in clause (2)(ii)(b) of this subdivision, the content core shall be a major, concentration, or the equivalent in one or more of the liberal arts and sciences, which, in combination with the general education core and pedagogical core, shall ensure that the candidate has a knowledge base for teaching to the State learning standards for students, as prescribed in Part 100 of this Title, in the following areas of the early childhood education curriculum: the arts; career development and occupational studies; English language arts; health, physical education, and family and consumer sciences; a language other than English; mathematics, science and technology; and social studies.

Per Commissioner's Regulations Part 52.21(b)(2)(ii)(c)(1)(iv) and 52.21(b)(3)(i)(b)(1)(iii), all early childhood education programs provide study that will permit candidates to obtain the following pedagogical knowledge, understanding, and skills in:

  • language acquisition and literacy development by native English speakers and students who are English language learners—and skill in developing the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of all students, including at least six semester hours of such study for teachers of early childhood education, childhood education, ...This six semester hour requirement may be waived upon a showing of good cause satisfactory to the commissioner, including but not limited to a showing that the program provides adequate instruction in language acquisition and literacy development through other means; and 
  • teaching the literacy skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to native English speakers and students who are English language learners at the childhood level, including methods of reading enrichment and remediation.

Updated: May 2020

How we graded

2D: Elementary Licensure Deficiencies

  • Adequate Content Knowledge: The state should ensure that all new elementary teacher candidates teaching under an early childhood license possess sufficient elementary content knowledge in all core subjects, including mathematics.
  • Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: The state should ensure that all new elementary teacher candidates teaching under an early childhood license are required to pass a rigorous test of scientifically based reading instruction. The design of the test should ensure that prospective teachers cannot pass without knowing the five scientifically based components of early reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Adequate Content Knowledge
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it requires early childhood teachers to pass the same content tests as elementary teachers that contain four or more separately scored content exams to ensure appropriate content knowledge in all core academic subject areas.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires early childhood teachers to pass the same content tests as elementary teachers, but the content test does not contain four separately scored tests. 
  • OR
  • The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires an early childhood test with at least two separately scored content exams to ensure appropriate content knowledge in core academic subjects. Both exams must result in a score for one core content area each.

Scientifically Based Reading Instruction
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it requires all new early childhood teachers to pass a rigorous test of scientifically based reading instruction. The design of the test must ensure that all prospective teachers are competent in the five research-based components of early reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires all new early childhood teachers to pass a stand-alone reading test of scientifically based reading instruction, but the test includes content not aligned to scientifically based reading instruction. 
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if early childhood teacher preparation standards address the five components of scientifically based reading instruction, but the state does not require an adequate - or any - scientifically based reading instruction test.

Research rationale

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.[1] 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,[2] states would put students at risk by not holding all elementary teachers to equivalent standards.[3] 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.[4] 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.


[1] National Council on Teacher Quality. (2016, June). Some assembly required: Piecing together the preparation preschool teachers need. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Preschool
[2] Student Achievement Partners. (2015). Research supporting the Common Core ELA/literacy shifts and standards. Retrieved from https://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Research%20Supporting%20the%20ELA%20Standards%20and%20Shifts%20Final.pdf
[3] Numerous research studies have established the strong relationship between teachers' vocabulary (a proxy for being broadly educated) and student achievement. For example: Wayne, A. J., & Youngs, P. (2003). Teacher characteristics and student achievement gains: A review. Review of Educational Research, 73(1), 89-122.; See also: Whitehurst, G. J. (2002, March). Scientifically based research on teacher quality: Research on teacher preparation and professional development. In White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow's Teacher.; Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1995). Did teachers' verbal ability and race matter in the 1960s? Coleman revisited. Economics of Education Review, 14(1), 1-21.; Research also connects individual content knowledge with increased reading comprehension, making the capacity of the teacher to infuse all instruction with content of particular importance for student achievement.; Willingham, D. T. (2006). How knowledge helps: It speeds and strengthens reading comprehension, learning, and thinking. American Educator, 30(1), 30. Retrieved from https://www.aft.org/periodical/american-educator/spring-2006/how-knowledge-helps
[4] Torgesen, J.K. (November 2005). Preventing reading disabilities in young children: Requirements at the classroom and school level. Presented at the Western North Carolina LD/ADD Symposium.; Walsh, K., Glaser, D., & Wilcox, D. D. (2006). What education schools aren't teaching about reading and what elementary teachers aren't learning. National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_reading_study_app.pdf