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Literacy Standards in Teacher Prep Programs Inconsistent Across States

Preliminary Review of State-Level Standards for Literacy in Teacher Preparation Process Reveals Inconsistencies

The first of two reports released by The International Literacy Association (ILA) revealed the findings of its Teacher Preparation Task Force on how preparation for teachers to teach literacy differs across states.

The findings in the report are the result of compiled information on teacher preparation in literacy in all 50 states and interviews from state education officials in 23 of those states.

"While there are limitations to this data and further review is underway, our initial findings show that few states require coursework related to preparation to teach literacy," said Deanna Birdyshaw, co-chair of the ILA Teacher Preparation Task Force and lecturer at the University of Michigan, in a company statement.

The report found that only 18 states require any kind of specific course in literacy for elementary school teachers and that for student teachers there are no specific requirements pertaining to literacy.

The company said in a statement that the data suggests the future of teacher preparation programs should be modeled with the following things in mind:

  • Systematic and comprehensive research that investigates pre-service program features that effectively prepare candidates to develop students' literacy across all grades and in all disciplines should be conducted and shared.
  • State standards and assessments related to literacy teacher preparation should be research based and of sufficient quality to provide the feedback needed to develop or revise teacher education curricula and state certification guidelines.
  • State guidelines for pre-service teacher preparation should make explicit reference to what candidates should know and be able to do in relationship to literacy instruction.
  • All pre-service teachers should be required to participate in activities during their practicum that develop their ability to design literacy instruction and monitor literacy growth.

ILA admitted that there are some limitations to the research. For one, the research is still on-going. Second, ILA acknowledges teacher preparation programs are changing and that 15 of the 23 states interviewed were in the process of changing their programs. Further, the state education officials were knowledgable of the requirements but could not be considered experts.

The second phase will include interviewing "Teacher Education Programs officials, administrators, and professors in all 50 states to determine how they are integrating the guidelines."

Read the full report here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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