The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
In its testing framework for elementary teacher preparation, Oregon requires teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading. All elementary teacher candidates must pass the ORELA Multiple Subject Examination, which includes the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. While the state's test includes the components of scientifically based reading instruction in Subtest 1, the breadth of the topics covered on the exam makes it possible to pass this exam without correctly answering questions on the science of reading.
Unfortunately, the state allows "alternative assessment," in which candidates who have twice failed the content test can petition for a waiver of the subject-matter requirement.
Oregon Administrative Rules 584-060-0012 http://www.orela.nesinc.com/OR6_whoshouldtest.asp
Ensure that the state's reading assessment adequately measures skills related to the science of reading instruction.
Although Oregon is commended for requiring teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading, the state should require an assessment that reports a subscore for the science of reading specifically. Elementary teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.
Require all teacher candidates to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
Oregon should reconsider its allowance of a test waiver. Elementary teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in the area of the science of reading should not be eligible for licensure.
Oregon noted that in the 2010-2011 academic year, only eight new program completers out of 1,903 obtained first licensure through alternative assessment. These candidates must show comprehensive coursework, a GPA of 3.0 or better and evidence that some of the coursework was completed recently.