Adolescent Literacy: New York

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs 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.

Does not meet

Analysis of New York's policies

Informational Texts: New York's preparation standards and tests for all middle and secondary school teachers do not address the instructional shifts associated with college- and career-readiness standards toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through careful reading of informational and literary texts.

Literacy Skills: Only the test framework for New York's secondary social studies test requires teachers to be able to incorporate literacy skills and use text to build content knowledge.




Citation

Recommendations for New York

Ensure that middle and 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.

New York 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 middle or secondary teachers regardless of subject area (such as a teaching methods tests), or through teacher preparation standards.

Incorporate literacy skills as an integral part of every subject.
To ensure that middle and secondary school students are capable of accessing varied information about the world around them, New York should also include literacy skills and using text to build content knowledge in history/social studies, science, technical subjects and the arts. New York is on the right track with the secondary social studies test framework that includes literacy skills and using text to build content knowledge. The state should strengthen this policy and—either through new testing frameworks or teacher standards—include literacy skills and using text to build content knowledge in science, technical subjects and the arts.

State response to our analysis

New York stated that adolescence education candidates are required to complete at least six semester hours in language acquisition and literacy development by native English speakers and students who are English language learners, and developing the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of all students. In addition, the state noted that programs must prepare candidates with a knowledge base for assisting students in grades 7-12 in meeting New York's student learning standards. The State learning standards include the NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy; NYS P-12 Common Core State Learning Standards (CCLS) English Language Arts & Literacy
in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects; NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics; NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards (adopted December 2016); as well as all content specific learning standards.

The NYS CCLS for English Language Arts and Literacy, including the NYS CCLS English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects and NYS CCLS in Mathematics, include the instructional shifts associated with college- and career-readiness standards toward building content knowledge and vocabulary through the development of various literacy skills, such as careful reading of informational and literary texts in each content area. These standards address literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects, and practitioners are expected to address the incorporation of literacy skills across core content areas.
New York also noted that Middle School Generalist candidates must pass the Multi-Subject: Teachers of Middle Childhood (grades 5-9) Test. The state referenced the following component from this test: 

Competency 2.1 - Instruction in Language Vocabulary Performance Indicators d and e in the test framework requires candidates to apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate, research- and evidenced-based instructional practices in "domain-specific words" and "building background knowledge as a base for vocabulary development" in core content instruction that enables students to "read, and use new vocabulary in a variety of meaningful contexts to develop depth of understanding of words."
According to the state, such instruction is integrated across content areas and does not take place in isolation.

New York added that other New York State Certification Teacher Exam (NYSCTE) Frameworks for secondary Content Specialty Tests provide evidence of how teachers create content and print-rich learning environments that connect to many disciplines and enhances content knowledge by reading informational and literary texts. An example of this is the Languages Other Than English Test Framework that states in the introduction that, "The teacher is an independent an and proficient Multi-Subject. 

New York also noted that middle school and adolescence education candidates must complete the edTPA assessment handbook in their certification area. But the state was not able to share the descriptions of the tasks and rubrics in the handbook due to copyright and test security reasons. New York suggested reaching out to Pearson and/or SCALE to see how the handbook rubrics address the NCTQ goals around candidates' abilities to incorporate complex texts and academic language into instruction, incorporate literacy skills as an integral part of every subject, and identify and support struggling readers, including how candidates develop students' academic language.


Last word

The test standards in the middle school generalist test referred to in New York's response is for the state's generalist license. The generalist license is only for teachers teaching in departmentalized K-8 schools, therefore it is not a test required of all middle school teachers.

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