Content Knowledge: Oklahoma

2017 Early Childhood Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that its teacher preparation programs provide early childhood teachers with age-appropriate content knowledge and instructional strategies. This goal was new in 2017 and was not graded.

Analysis of Oklahoma's policies

Oklahoma offers a grades PreK-3 early childhood education license. Early childhood education candidates are required to pass the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators (OEOE) Early Childhood Education test.

Emergent Literacy and Oral Language: The CEOE Early Childhood Education test addresses the concepts related to emergent literacy. One test for competency requires candidates to be able to, "apply knowledge of emergent literacy development and strategies for fostering young children's literacy, including creation of a classroom environment that encourages a positive disposition toward literacy."
Examples of topics covered under this competency include:

  • Apply knowledge of the development of concepts of print (e.g., awareness that print carries meaning, book-handling skills, understanding of the directionality of print, letter naming, letter recognition), methods for assessing and monitoring children's development in this area, and instructional strategies for promoting related knowledge and skills.
  • Apply knowledge of the structure of the English language and the alphabetic writing system, including phonology, morphology, and orthography, and their relationship to children's language development.
The CEOE Early Childhood education test also contains competencies for the main components of emergent literacy, including knowledge of: phonological awareness and phonemic awareness; word identification strategies; fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary development; and young children's writing development.

With regard to oral language, the CEOE Early Childhood Education test contains a test competency requiring candidates to "apply knowledge of expressive and receptive language development and how to provide learning experiences that encourage children's development and use of language and literacy skills."
Examples of topics covered under this test competency include:
  • Apply knowledge of strategies for promoting children's oral vocabulary, listening skills, and oral expression in varied contexts (e.g., interacting with peers, exploring environments, participating in whole-class and small-group discussions, responding to literature read-alouds and higher-order questioning) and for creating a language-rich environment that encourages all children to learn to communicate effectively.
  • Analyze relationships between oral language and literacy development, including reading, writing, and spelling development.
  • Apply knowledge of skills and strategies for assessing children's language development and for promoting language development for children with varied strengths and needs.
Oklahoma's subject-matter competencies for early childhood education also require that a candidate, 
  • Understands that primary language (oral) directly affects the secondary languages (reading, writing, spelling).
  • Knows and applies knowledge of implicit and explicit instruction in developing oral language.
  • Knows the relationship of oral language to literacy.
Emergent Mathematics and Science: The CEOE Early Childhood Education test addresses some aspects of emergent mathematics and science. Regarding emergent mathematics, the test requires candidates to:
  • Demonstrate understanding of the mathematics curriculum and appropriate ways to sequence skills and concepts in teaching mathematics to young children.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to incorporate play and the use of manipulatives into classroom activities to promote children's development of mathematical understanding.
  • Apply knowledge of areas of mathematical content (e.g., number sense and numeration, whole-number operations, geometry and spatial sense, statistics and probability, fractions) and mathematical language; and strategies for promoting children's knowledge and skills in these areas through a variety of appropriate learning experiences, including integration of mathematics with other content areas.
In addition, Oklahoma's subject-matter competencies for early childhood education also require that a candidate:
  • Understands that the [mathematics] curriculum should be coherent and compatible with known relationships and sequences of important mathematical ideas and that it provides for children's deep and lasting interaction with key mathematical ideas.
  • Introduces mathematical concepts, methods, and language through a variety of appropriate experiences and teaching strategies, including integrating mathematics with other activities and allowing ample time, materials and teacher support for children to explore and manipulate mathematical ideas.
In the area of science, the CEOE Early Childhood Education test requires candidates to:
  • "Demonstrate understanding of principles and phenomena related to the life and physical sciences (i.e., biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics) and how to foster children's understanding of these science fields
  • Apply knowledge of instructional strategies for encouraging children to view themselves as competent scientific explorers and activities for promoting their ability to think and communicate scientifically (e.g., by providing opportunities to observe and describe objects and phenomena; engage in simple investigations; and apply skills such as making predictions, classifying and interpreting data, recognizing patterns, and drawing conclusions).
In addition, Oklahoma's subject matter competencies for early childhood education also require that a candidate,
  • Plans an inquiry-based science program that develops a curriculum design to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students in a framework of yearlong and short-term goals for students.
  • Designs and manages learning environments that provide students with the time, space and resources needed for developing science skills.
  • Uses a variety of instructional strategies to implement an integrated/interdisciplinary curriculum and understands the interaction between the sciences and the process skills.
Early Childhood Development: The CEOE Early Childhood Education addresses the concepts of child development birth through age 8. One test competency is devoted to testing candidates on applied "knowledge of early childhood development from birth through grade three and factors that influence children's development and learning."
Some means by which early childhood education candidates show competency in this area are by:
  • [Demonstrating] knowledge of theoretical foundations and current scientifically based research regarding the development and learning of children from birth through age 8.
  • [Recognizing] characteristics, progressions, and variations of development in the physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language, sensory, and aesthetic domains and the interrelationships between the various domains.
Oklahoma's competencies for early childhood education require that "the candidate for licensure and certification knows, understands, and uses:
  • Factors that influence the development of young children, the sequence and interdependency of all areas (i.e., physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language) and uses that knowledge to meet the needs and characteristics of the group and individual children (birth to eight years of age) while respecting their unique rates of development.
Establishing a Positive and Productive Classroom Environment: Because well-run classrooms help children develop self-regulation and build academic skills, it is imperative that candidates are adequately prepared to create a positive and productive classroom environment. This includes classroom management skills, developing a child's executive functions and creating activities where children can learn through play.  

The CEOE Early Childhood Education test contains a competency devoted to understanding "knowledge of methods, strategies, and procedures to create and manage positive learning environments for children in prekindergarten through grade three."
Requirements under this section include early childhood education candidates' ability to:
  • Apply knowledge of the development, characteristics, and needs of young children to create learning environments that are safe and healthy and that promote children's sense of security and independence.
  • Analyze methods and strategies to manage the learning environment by creating procedures, schedules, and routines; facilitating transitions; and addressing behaviors through scientifically valid, research-based, and developmentally appropriate guidance and behavior management systems.
  • Apply knowledge of the development, characteristics, and needs of young children to create supportive and challenging learning environments that promote children's inherent curiosity, sense of competence, and motivation to learn.
Oklahoma's competencies for early childhood education require that "the candidate for licensure and certification knows, understands, and uses "Positive child guidance strategies which help children learn to make responsible decisions regarding their own behavior and contributes to the development of self-control, self-motivation, and self-respect."

Citation

Recommendations for Oklahoma

Due to Oklahoma's strong policies in this area, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

Oklahoma had no comment on this goal.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

Not applicable. This goal was not scored in 2017.

Research rationale

A strong preschool experience can set children up for achievement gains in elementary school,[1] and even more critically, for improved long-term outcomes including college attendance and degree completion.[2] However, not all preschool programs have achieved these positive results.[3] To increase the likelihood that children will reap benefits from attending preschool, states should ensure that the preschool teachers have certain essential skills and knowledge.

To lay children's foundation for learning to read—and to open the door to other areas of learning—teachers must understand how to develop children's oral language skills and build children's emergent literacy. Especially for young children who are already behind, preschool teachers can play a critical role in language development.[4] Emergent literacy encompasses a range of skills that are essential to reading, but may not come naturally to all children. These skills include phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, learning the alphabet, and concepts of print.[5] Teacher training in these areas can translate into substantial gains for children in alphabet knowledge, vocabulary, and language skills.[6] The early introduction of language and literacy can make a lasting difference for children. Unsurprisingly, children with low language and literacy skills in preschool demonstrate lower reading skills in kindergarten.[7] However, not all approaches to teaching emergent literacy are equally effective, and the quality of preschool curricula varies, making it that much more important that preschool teachers have ample training in how to develop their preschoolers' emergent literacy skills.[8]

Preschool teachers need similar grounding in teaching emergent math and science concepts. Research finds that introducing children to more complex mathematical concepts from an early age may increase their math ability in later years.[9] In fact, some research suggests that the relationship between children's early math skills and future math achievement is twice as strong as the relationship between emergent literacy and future reading achievement.[10] Little research exists on what teachers need to know about preschool science instruction, but experts agree that this area is important.[11]

Beyond knowing what to teach, preschool teachers need to understand the children they are teaching. As such, knowledge of child development from birth to age eight is important.[12] Similarly, preschool teachers need to know effective classroom management strategies that can build social-emotional skills and prevent or resolve many behavioral problems.[13] Of course, classroom management is about more than discipline: it is about establishing an environment that actively supports learning, including understanding how to develop children's executive functioning skills and manage children's play for learning purposes.[14] Teachers' emotional support for their students is associated with better social competence and lower rates of behavior problems.[15]


[1] For example, see: Andrews, R. J., Jargowsky, P., & Kuhne, K. (2012). The effects of Texas's targeted pre-kindergarten program on academic performance (Working paper no. 84). CALDER. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w18598; Campbell, F. A., Pungello, E. P., Miller-Johnson, S., Burchinal, M., & Ramey, C. T. (2001). The development of cognitive and academic abilities: Growth curves from an early childhood educational experiment. Developmental Psychology, 37, 231-242; Ramey, C. T., Campbell, F. A., Burchinal, M., Skinner, M. L., Gardner, D. M., & Ramey, S. L. (2000). Persistent effects of early intervention on high-risk children and their mothers. Applied Developmental Science, 4, 2-14; Ramey, C. T. & Campbell, F. A. (1991). Poverty, early childhood education, and academic competence: The Abecedarian experiment. In A. Huston (Ed.), Children reared in poverty (pp. 190-221). New York: Cambridge University Press; Ramey, C. T., & Campbell, F. A. (1984). Preventive education for high-risk children: Cognitive consequences of the Carolina Abecedarian Project. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 88, 515-523.
[2] Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 40. Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Press; Campbell, F., Conti, G., Heckman, J.J., Moon, S.H., Pinto, R., Pungello, E., Pan, Y. (2014, March 28) Early childhood investments substantially boost adult health. Science, 343(6178):1478-85. DOI: 10.1126/1248429. PMID: 24675955; Campbell, F. A., Pungello, E. P., Burchinal, M., Kainz, K., Pan, Y., Wasik, B. H., Sparling, J. & Ramey, C. T. (2012). Adult outcomes as a function of an early childhood educational program: An Abecedarian Project follow-up. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1033. Campbell, F. A., Wasik, B. H., Pungello, E. P., Burchinal, M. R., Kainz, K., Barbarin, O., ... & Ramey, C. T. (2008). Young adult outcomes from the Abecedarian and CARE early childhood educational interventions. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 452-466. Campbell, F. A., Ramey, C. T., Pungello, E. P., Sparling, J., & Miller-Johnson, S. (2002). Early childhood education: Young adult outcomes from the Abecedarian Project. Applied Developmental Science, 6, 42-57. Dynarski, S., Hyman, J., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2013). Experimental evidence on the effect of childhood investments on postsecondary attainment and degree completion. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32, 692-717. Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., Hilger, N., Saez, E., Schanzenbach, D. W., & Yagan, D. (2010). How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project STAR. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16381
[3] Lipsey, M. W., Farran, D. C., & Hofer, K. G., (2015). A randomized control trial of the effects of a statewide voluntary prekindergarten program on children's skills and behaviors through third grade. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, Peabody Research Institute. Retrieved from http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pri/VPKthrough3rd_final_withcover.pdf
[4] Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research; Beck, I. L., & McKeown, M. G. (2007). Increasing young low‐income children's oral vocabulary repertoires through rich and focused instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 107(3), 251-271; Institute of Medicine & National Research Council. (2015). Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: A unifying foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; M. Adams, personal communication, January 2016; Dickinson, D. K., & Porche, M. V. (2011). Relation between language experiences in preschool classrooms and children's kindergarten and fourth‐grade language and reading abilities. Child Development, 82(3), 870-88.
[5] U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse. (2012). Early childhood education interventions for children with disabilities intervention report: Phonological awareness training. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/InterventionReports/wwc_pat_060512.pdf; Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research.
[6] Landry, S. H., Swank, P. R., Smith, K. E., Assel, M. A., & Gunnewig, S. B. (2006). Enhancing early literacy skills for preschool children bringing a professional development model to scale. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39(4), 306-324.; U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse. (2012). Early childhood education interventions for children with disabilities intervention report: Phonological awareness training. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/InterventionReports/wwc_pat_060512.pdf
[7] Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research.
[8] Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research.
[9] Watts, T. W., Duncan, G. J., Siegler, R. S., & Davis-Kean, P. E. (2014). What's past is prologue: Relations between early mathematics knowledge and high school achievement. Educational Researcher, 43(7), 352-360.
[10] Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research.; Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., ... & Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428-1446; Other research found that children's math ability in preschool predicted their math ability at age 15, even after controlling for early reading ability and family characteristics. See: Watts, T. W., Duncan, G. J., Siegler, R. S., & Davis-Kean, P. E. (2014). What's past is prologue: Relations between early mathematics knowledge and high school achievement. Educational Researcher, 43(7), 352-360.
[11] Putman, H., Moorer, A., & Walsh, K. (2016). Some assembly required: Piecing together the preparation preschool teachers need. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from: http://www.nctq.org/dmsStage/Preschool
[12] Putman, H., Moorer, A., & Walsh, K. (2016). Some assembly required: Piecing together the preparation preschool teachers need. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from: http://www.nctq.org/dmsStage/Preschool
[13]  Diamond, K. E., Justice, L. M., Siegler, R. S., & Snyder, P. A. (2013). Synthesis of IES research on early intervention and early childhood education (NCSER 2013-3001). National Center for Special Education Research.; Epstein, M., Atkins, M., Cullinan, D., Kutash, K., and Weaver, R. (2008). Reducing behavior problems in the elementary school classroom: A practice guide (NCEE 2008-012). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/PracticeGuide/behavior_pg_092308.pdf; National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2010). 2010 NAEYC standards for initial and advanced early childhood professional preparation programs. Retrieved from http://www.naeyc.org/files/ecada/file/2010%20NAEYC%20Initial%20&%20Advanced%20Standards.pdf
[14] Raver, C. C., Jones, S. M., Li‐Grining, C., Zhai, F., Bub, K., & Pressler, E. (2011). CSRP's impact on low‐income preschoolers' pre-academic skills: Self‐regulation as a mediating mechanism. Child Development, 82(1), 362-378.; Blair, C., & Raver, C. C. (2014). Closing the achievement gap through modification of neurocognitive and neuroendocrine function: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial of an innovative approach to the education of children in kindergarten. PloS One, 9(11), e112393.
[15] Mashburn, A. J., Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B. K., Downer, J. T., Barbarin, O. A., Bryant, D., ... & Howes, C. (2008). Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children's development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development, 79(3), 732-749.