Adolescent Literacy: Texas

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.

Meets

Analysis of Texas's policies

Informational Texts: Although the Texas' Core Subjects 4-8 content assessment does not mention informational texts specifically, its competencies require skills related to expository texts. Standards for middle-grades social studies and science teachers indicate that a teacher must be able to "use a variety of instructional strategies to ensure all students' reading comprehension of content-related texts, including helping students link the content of texts to their lives and connect related ideas across different texts."

Literacy Skills: Although secondary tests in other content areas do not address incorporating literacy skills, Texas' educator standards do address these skills Texas's educator preparation curriculum must include "reading instruction, including instruction that improves students' content-area literacy." The state's teacher standards require that "teachers promote literacy and the academic language within the discipline and make discipline-specific language accessible to all learners."

Citation

Recommendations for Texas

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.
Although Texas's preparation and standards for middle school and secondary teachers address informational and expository texts, the state should strengthen its policy and ensure that teachers are able to challenge students with texts of increasing complexity.

State response to our analysis

Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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