Adolescent Literacy: Illinois

2017 Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that new middle school and secondary teachers are fully prepared for the instructional shifts related to literacy associated with college-and career-readiness standards. This goal was reorganized in 2017.

Nearly meets

Analysis of Illinois's policies

Informational Texts: Illinois's standards for middle grades and secondary teachers include the instructional shifts toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through increasingly complex texts and careful reading of informational and literary texts associated with the state's college- and career-readiness standards for students. All teachers are required to complete coursework in "methods of reading and reading in the content area." This coursework must address:

  • "the construction of meaning through the interactions of the reader's background knowledge and experiences, the information in the text and the purpose of the reading situation;
  • the design, selection, modification and evaluation of a wide range of materials for the content areas and the reading needs of the student;"

Illinois also articulates literacy standards for all teachers in the middle grades and requires teachers to understand:
  • The quantitative, qualitative and individual factors that affect text complexity, including how to estimate text readability
  • The organizational text structures, literary devices, rhetorical features, text features and graphics commonly used in literary and informational texts
  • The characteristics of various genre or forms of literary and informational text.
These teachers are also required to:
  • Use a wide range of high-quality literature and informational texts, including primary sources
  • Select literature and informational texts that address the interests, backgrounds and learning needs of each student.
Literacy Skills: Coursework requirements for all teachers must also address:
  • "varied instructional approaches used before, during, and after reading, including those that develop word knowledge, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and strategy used in the content areas
  • the relationships among reading, writing and oral communication and understanding how to integrate these components to increase content learning;
  • varied instructional approaches that develop word knowledge, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and strategy use in the content areas;"

Additionally, all middle school teachers must understand "the role, perspective and purpose of text in specific disciplines" and be able to do the following:
  • Scaffold reading to enable students to understand and learn from challenging text
  • Guide close reading discussions that require students to identify the key ideas and details of a text, analyze the text's craft and structure (including the tone and meaning of words) and critically evaluate the text
  • Teach students to trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text and to distinguish claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from those claims that are not supported
  • Provide instruction in interpreting graphic features and their relationship to text
  • Guide students to use note-taking, previewing, identification of main idea and supporting details and review strategies to clarify and solidify comprehension
  • Support students in analyzing the organizational structure of texts and in considering how specific sentences, paragraphs and larger portions of the text relate to each other and to the text as a whole
  • Assist students with recognizing features of text common to individual disciplines
  • Guide students to identify and analyze content in texts that indicates point of view, perspective, purpose, fact, opinion, speculation and audience
  • Guide the reading of multiple texts to enable students to comparatively analyze and evaluate information and synthesize information from the texts into a coherent understanding of a topic
  • Model and encourage the use of reading strategies to improve comprehension.

Citation

Recommendations for Illinois

Ensure that secondary school teachers are prepared to meet the instructional requirements of college- and career-readiness standards for students.
Incorporate informational text of increasing complexity into classroom instruction.
Illinois should specifically address the instructional shifts toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through increasingly complex informational texts and careful reading of informational and literary texts associated with the state's college- and career-readiness standards for students. The state may consider addressing these shifts either through testing frameworks in tests taken by all secondary teachers regardless of subject area (such as a teaching methods tests), or through teacher preparation standards.

State response to our analysis

Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis, and the state was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts necessary for this analysis.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

3C: Adolescent Literary 

The state should ensure that all middle and secondary teachers are sufficiently prepared for the ways that college- and career-readiness standards affect instruction in all subject areas. Specifically,

  • Middle School Preparation: The state should ensure that all new middle and secondary teachers are prepared to incorporate informational texts of increasing complexity into instruction.
  • Secondary Preparation: The state should ensure that all new middle and secondary teachers are prepared to incorporate literacy skills as an integral part of every subject.
Middle School Preparation
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if at least one of the two components is "fully addressed" and one is "partially addressed."
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one of the two components is "fully addressed" or two are "partially addressed."
Secondary Preparation
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if at least one of the two components is "fully addressed" and one is "partially addressed."
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one of the two components is "fully addressed" or two are "partially addressed."

Research rationale

States must ensure that middle school and secondary teacher preparation programs prepare teachers to incorporate complex text into instruction and student practice. These are critical years of schooling when far too many students fall through the cracks.

With that said, college- and career-readiness standards are influencing significant shifts in literacy instruction.
College- and career-readiness standards for K-12 students adopted by nearly all states require from teachers a different focus on literacy integrated into all subject areas.[1] The standards demand that teachers are prepared to bring complex text and academic language into regular use, emphasize the use of evidence from informational and literary texts, and build knowledge and vocabulary through content-rich texts. While most states have not ignored teachers' need for training and professional development related to these instructional shifts, states must also attend to the parallel need to align teacher competencies and requirements for teacher preparation so that new teachers will enter the classroom ready to help students meet the expectations of these standards.


[1] Student Achievement Partners. (2015). Research supporting the Common Core ELA/literacy shifts and standards. Retrieved from https://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Research%20Supporting%20the%20ELA%20Standards%20and%20Shifts%20Final.pdf