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: Ohio's early childhood education certification licenses its teachers to teach grades PreK-3. Candidates are required to pass the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) Early Childhood Education test, which is not a content test. Only one core content area (language and literacy development) is covered.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction—Tests and Standards: As a condition of initial licensure, all early childhood education candidates in Ohio must pass the state's Foundations of Reading test. The test's objectives include the five components of scientific reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
In its coursework requirements for all teacher candidates, Ohio requires teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading. The state requires all teachers to take at least three credit hours of coursework in reading instruction. To obtain licensure in early or middle childhood or special education, teacher candidates must complete 12 credit hours in the teaching of reading, which must include a distinct three-credit-hour course in the teaching of phonics. Programs must provide training in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
Test Requirement http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Prepare-for-Certificate-License/Educator-Licensure-Examinations/Educator-Licensure-Testing-Requirements.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US Ohio Administrative Code 3301-24-05 and 3301-24-18 Ohio Revised Code 3319.233 and 3319.24 Reading Competencies http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Early-Learning/Third-Grade-Reading-Guarantee/Third-Grade-Reading-Guarantee-District-Resources/Approved-List-of-Research-Based-Reading-Instructio/Reading_Competencies.pdf.aspx
Require early childhood teacher candidates to pass a subject-matter test designed to ensure sufficient content knowledge of all subjects.
Ohio 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. Ohio 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.
Ohio recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis; however, this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
2D: Elementary Licensure Requirements
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.