RIC’s Elementary Education Programs Earn High Distinction

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Rhode Island College Impact

RIC’s B.A. and B.S. programs in elementary education are considered a national model by literacy experts in preparing teachers for reading instruction.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recognized Rhode Island College’s B.A. and B.S. programs in elementary education as among the best in the nation in preparing future elementary education teachers to teach children to read. The B.A. consists of a concentration in a content area (math or science), and the B.S. has a concentration in special education. These programs earned an A+ distinction in NCTQ’s new report: “Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction.”

They are among just 48 nationwide and are the only programs in Rhode Island highlighted by NCTQ for going above and beyond the standards set by literacy experts for coverage of the most effective methods of reading instruction.

To earn an A+, programs had to exceed an NCTQ panel’s targets in five components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonics awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The panel also analyzed FSEHD’s 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.

NCTQ evaluated 693 traditional undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, including three in Rhode Island. Only 23 percent of programs earned an A+ or A grade.

NCTQ President Heather Peske says RIC’s programs serve as worthy examples for preparing teachers to assist the more than 1.3 million fourth-grade students nationally who can’t read at a basic level.

“Other teacher preparation leaders and faculty across the country must take note,” she says. “There are programs that are doing this right, ensuring that their elementary education teacher candidates get the preparation in how to teach reading that they both want and deserve.”

Founded in 2000, NCTQ is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that researches, evaluates and provides information and guidance on topics such as teacher preparation, teacher pay, educator equity and diversity.