Report: Teachers’ Reading Tests Inadequate in Most States

Fewer than a dozen states across the country have adopted adequate reading and licensing tests for elementary school and special education teachers, according to a new study from the National Council on Teacher Quality that describes the lack of credentialing “safeguards” as “troubling.”

Only 11 states in the U.S. require both elementary school and special education teachers to pass a comprehensive reading-focused licensing or credentialing exam. Teachers in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin are required to take such a test.

The other 39 states and the District of Columbia were found to either only partially test their elementary and special education teachers’ reading acumen or to completely forego such credentialing.

“If we are asking students to demonstrate their content knowledge, then we must ensure teachers have the content knowledge to teach,” Heather Peske, the Massachusetts senior associate commissioner at the Center for Instructional Support, said in a statement accompanying the report.

The study highlighted several states, including Mississippi and New Hampshire, that require traditional elementary school teachers to pass a reading knowledge assessment but do not demand similarly comprehensive credentialing of special education teachers – a finding the document’s press release describes as “a perplexing stance.”

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