Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading
Instruction : Oregon

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction : Oregon results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OR-Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Reading-Instruction--6

Analysis of Oregon's policies

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.

Citation

Recommendations for Oregon

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.

State response to our analysis

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. 

Research rationale

For evidence on what new teachers are not learning about reading instruction, see NCTQ, "What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning" (2006) at:
http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_reading_study_app.pdf

For problems with existing reading tests, see S. Stotsky, "Why American Students Do Not Learn to Read Very Well: The Unintended Consequences of Title II and Teacher Testing," Third Education Group Review 2 No. 2 (2006); and D. W. Rigden, Report on Licensure Alignment with the Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction (Washington, D.C.: Reading First Teacher Education Network, 2006) at: 
http://www.tegr.org/Review/Articles/vol2/v2n2.pdf.

For information on where states set passing scores on elementary level content tests for teacher licensing across the U.S., see chart on p. 13 of NCTQ "Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Removing the Roadblocks: How Federal Policy Can Cultivate Effective Teachers," (2011).