New Literacy Standards Require Teacher Preparation Programs to Align with Science of Reading and Incorporate the CA Dyslexia Guidelines
Teacher prep programs will face greater transparency and accountability for covering the science of reading and dyslexia in their coursework.
October 13, 2022 marked a major milestone towards ensuring California students have access to teachers with the knowledge and skills to put all students on the path to literacy, including students with or at risk for dyslexia.
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) unanimously approved new literacy requirements for CTC-approved teacher preparation programs. Higher expectations for the teaching of literacy have now been written into Literacy Program Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) for teacher preparation programs. Specifically, new standards will require preparation programs to incorporate evidence-based means of teaching foundational literacy skills (like print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency); tiered supports; ongoing diagnostic techniques and early intervention; and the incorporation of the California Dyslexia Guidelines and more.
For the first time in California history, the CA Dyslexia Guidelines must be incorporated into pre-service teachers’ coursework and, where practicable, supervised field experiences. Teacher candidates will learn about dyslexia and its characteristics, how to screen for risk of dyslexia and how to teach using a structured literacy approach as defined in the CA Dyslexia Guidelines. The new literacy standards emphasize a preventative approach to addressing literacy, including risk of dyslexia, through the use of screening, progress monitoring, and early intervention.
The California teacher preparation programs and beginning teaching credential candidates impacted include the elementary teaching credential known as the multiple subject credential, the single subject English credential for teaching middle and high school, special education credentials, and the newly adopted PK-3 credential. Existing teacher preparation programs must align their coursework and field experiences with the new literacy standards by no later than July 1, 2024. New PK-3 teacher preparation programs will need to align with new literacy standards immediately.
The new literacy standards and TPEs are a result of Senate Bill 488 (S. Rubio, D-Baldwin Park) signed by Governor Newsom in October of 2021. The new laws will also sunset the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (or “RICA) and it will be replaced with a new Literacy Teaching Performance Assessment in July of 2025. CTC will be required to certify that all existing approved teacher preparation programs align with the new literacy standards.
According to the most recent Nation’s Report Card from 2019, California ranks low in the nation with 67% of fourth-grade students not reading at grade level and these poor reading rates are even more dismal for students of color where 82% of Black fourth-grade students and 78% Hispanic fourth-grade students do not read at grade level, respectively.
The CTC has eliminated many of its teaching standards with respect to reading instruction over the past two decades. This new law will require CTC to not only strengthen its standards but to do so with increased transparency and accountability including engaging stakeholders and reporting back to the state legislature on its progress.
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A complete copy of the CTC October Agenda Item 4A that includes SB 488 Literacy Standards and TPEs can be found here. (Please note that there were some CTC amendments (shown in red) that can be found here.)