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ETSU named one of nation’s top teacher prep programs for early reading

Contributed • Jan 28, 2020 at 11:54 PM

East Tennessee State University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named one of the top in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization, for its strong commitment to evidence-based reading instruction.

This month, NCTQ released its “2020 Teacher Prep Review: Program Performance in Early Reading Instruction,” which finds significant progress on the science of reading instruction in teacher preparation. For the first time since NCTQ began publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review, 51% of the over 1,000 evaluated traditional elementary teacher preparation programs earned an A or B grade for their coverage of the key components of the science of reading, up from just 35% seven years ago.

ETSU is one of only 15 undergraduate elementary programs that earned an A+ due to exemplary coursework, and serves as a model of excellence for others. These top-performing programs provide the following for each of the five essential components of reading:

• Explicit and repeated instruction on each component.

• Support for instruction with high-quality textbooks that accurately detail established principles of scientifically-based reading practices.

• Opportunities for teacher candidates to demonstrate mastery through in-class assignments, tests, and instructional practice.

“We have a rich history of strong literacy teaching steeped in evidence-based practices as demonstrated not only by NCTQ, but also our candidates’ evaluation on edTPA and other assessment measures,” said Dr. Karin Keith, chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the ETSU Clemmer College.

“Through this process we gained an in-depth understanding of the unique ways that NCTQ evaluates educator preparation programs as well as our own curriculum and responded accordingly. We appreciate the recognition of our elementary education literacy program and will continue to build on this foundation in addition to our focus on social justice and equity in education.”

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of literacy experts to examine every course a program requires in early reading, looking at the planned topics to be covered in each class, readings, assignments, practice opportunities and tests, as well as rating the quality of the textbooks used in each course.

Experts look for clear evidence of dedicated course time as well as measures where aspiring teachers must demonstrate their knowledge of the five key components of the science of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. For more information about ETSU’s teacher preparation programs, visit https://www.etsu.edu/coe/cuai/default.php.

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