Research group: Idaho’s prospective teachers lack sufficient reading prep

A Washington, D.C.-based think tank says Idaho is not fully preparing its prospective teachers in the science of reading.

On Thursday, the National Council on Teacher Quality released a nationwide analysis of literacy-comprehension standards for both elementary and special education teacher candidates in all 50 states.

Idaho only “partially” meets the NCTQ’s standards in both of these areas, the report notes.

The NCTQ credited Idaho for assessing both would-be elementary and special education teachers in reading. Yet the state’s Comprehensive Literary Assessment is insufficient, the NCTQ said, because it includes references to standards that are not fully aligned with “the science of reading” —  a term that stems from a highly influential 2000 report from the National Reading Panel.

Presently, only 11 states mandate “sufficient” reading tests for both elementary and special education teachers, the NCTQ found.

Sixteen states have adequate tests in place for elementary teacher candidates, while only 11 do for special education candidates.

That’s a “perplexing stance,” said NCTQ president Kate Walsh, given that students are often assigned to special education because of their struggles in reading.

“We’ve known for decades what needs to change,” Walsh said. “If states want to use standards as their primary mechanism for delivering well-prepared teachers, they have to be prepared to also provide constant monitoring and enforcement. Few states have shown themselves to be so inclined.”

The NCTQ suggested the following for helping kids become better readers:

  • Requirements that prospective elementary and special education teachers in all states pass tests aligned with reading-based scientific research.
  • Individual sub-scores that highlight teacher candidates’ knowledge specifically in reading.
  • Easier public access to state reviews of teacher preparation programs.

The NCTQ’s latest review of Idaho’s teacher prep programs show that some underperform. The think tank also recently gave Idaho’s principal-evaluation protocols mixed reviews.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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