The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
In its standards for elementary teacher preparation, Texas requires teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading. Programs must provide training in the five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. In addition, the state also requires elementary teacher candidates to take six semester credit hours of upper-division coursework in reading.
Texas also requires that all elementary teachers pass its general subject-matter test, the Texas Examination of Educator Standards. Commendably, the state's test addresses all five components of scientifically based reading instruction; however, the reading portion is combined with English language arts, with reading comprising approximately 40 percent of the test. Therefore, it is possible to answer many of the reading questions incorrectly and still pass the test.
Educator Preparation Program Guidelines http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=5D0C5FF2-AAB7-2586-5F742FC569C700E0&flushcache=1&showdraft=1 Generalist Educator Standards http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOnline/standtest/standards/ec6gen.asp http://texes.ets.org/texes/prepMaterials/
Ensure that the state's reading assessment adequately measures skills related to the science of reading instruction.
Texas is commended for requiring teacher preparation programs to address the science of reading. However, Texas should consider requiring 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.
Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is considering a separate reading test for elementary teachers that would include the science of reading instruction. This testing requirement was included in the released testing contract RFP (Request for Proposal). The current required curriculum items call for the science of reading, and when the state monitors preparation programs, it ensures that the science of reading is covered for all certification fields and at every grade level.