The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
South Carolina does not require that teacher preparation programs for elementary teacher candidates address the science of reading. The state has neither coursework requirements nor standards related to this critical area. South Carolina also does not require teacher candidates to pass an assessment that measures knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction prior to certification or at any point thereafter.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare elementary teaching candidates in the science of reading instruction.
South Carolina should require that teacher preparation programs in the state train candidates in the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Require teacher candidates to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
South Carolina should require a rigorous reading assessment tool to ensure that its elementary teacher 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 if it is combined with an assessment that also tests general pedagogy or elementary content, it should report 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.
South Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that under the direction of its new State Superintendent of Education, literacy has become a major focal point for improving public education. The Office of Teacher Effectiveness has been created, with literacy being its major focus area. South Carolina also noted that more rigor has been infused into the add-on certifications for literacy, and the legislature has directed a study to review the status of reading initiatives throughout the state.