The undergraduate teacher preparation program at Sul Ross State University has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as among the best in the nation in preparing future elementary teachers to teach children to read, earning an A+ distinction in NCTQ’s new report, “Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening ElementaryReading Instruction.”
SRSU’s program is among just 48 nationwide and three in Texas highlighted by NCTQ for going above and beyond the standards set by literacy experts for coverage of the most effective methods of reading instruction—often called the “science of reading.”
National data shows that more than one-third of fourth grade students—over 1.3 million children—cannot read at a basic level. By preparing teachers in the methods that research has shown to work best, we can change these devastating results.
To evaluate the quality of preparation being provided, a team of experts at NCTQ analyzed syllabi, including lecture schedules and topics, background reading materials, class assessments, assignments, and opportunities to practice instruction in required literacy courses for undergraduate elementary teacher candidates at Sul Ross State University. To earn an A+ distinction, programs needed to comfortably exceed NCTQ’s targets for coverage of the five core components of scientifically based reading instruction—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—and not teach any instructional practices that are unsupported by research, such as the debunked three-cueing method, which can inhibit students’ progress in reading.
While some portion of children will learn to read naturally, over five decades of research have established the components of explicit, scientifically based reading instruction that help most students become successful readers. Research suggests that over 90 percent of children could learn to read if their teachers used instructional methods grounded in the science of reading. Sul Ross State University is proud to be recognized among the programs ensuring that future elementary teachers enter the classroom equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to help students become strong readers.
“The Sul Ross State University program serves as a proof point,” said Dr. Heather Peske, NCTQ president. “Other teacher preparation leaders and faculty across the country must take note. There are programs that are doing this right, ensuring that their elementary teacher candidates get the preparation in how to teach reading that they both want and deserve.”
The new NCTQ analysis of teacher preparation programs’ coverage of the science of reading was developed over the course of two years, involving teams of literacy experts, researchers, teacher preparation leaders and educators. NCTQ evaluated 693 traditional undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, including 50 in Texas. Overall, just 23 percent of programs earned an A or A+ grade.
For more information, email Dr. Barbara Tucker, the dean of Education and Professional Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.