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Education

Mississippi and Colorado acknowledged for outstanding reading instruction programs

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mississippi department of education

In a recent report titled “Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction,” the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has identified Mississippi and Colorado as the top two states for their effective implementation of scientifically based reading instruction in teacher preparation programs. This comprehensive report offers the latest insights into how aspiring teachers are equipped to teach reading effectively.

Mississippi has received praise in the NCTQ report for its strong commitment to promoting the science of reading through well-designed policies and focused implementation. The state has established rigorous teacher preparation standards, ensured accountability measures, introduced a robust reading licensure test, and provided support to teacher preparation programs transitioning to scientifically grounded reading instruction.

Mississippi’s investments in teacher preparation and professional development have yielded impressive results, with its 4th graders achieving remarkable gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in both 2019 and 2022. The state has witnessed significant improvements in 4th grade reading rankings, rising from 50th to 21st nationally since 2013. Moreover, economically disadvantaged 4th graders in Mississippi have outperformed their peers across the country and in the South in reading and math.

Mike Kent, the interim state superintendent of education, expressed his satisfaction with the NCTQ report, emphasizing Mississippi’s dedication to equipping elementary teachers with effective reading instruction techniques. Kent attributed the improved reading proficiency of Mississippi’s students to the diligent efforts of skilled teachers who employ the science of reading in their classrooms.

Extensive research spanning over five decades has established the core components of explicit, scientifically based reading instruction that contribute to students’ reading success. Studies suggest that if teachers utilize instructional methods grounded in the science of reading, over 90% of children can become proficient readers, even those who may face challenges in natural reading acquisition.

Dr. Heather Peske, President of NCTQ, emphasized the pressing need for teacher preparation programs to align with the ongoing revolution in the science of reading. She underscored the importance of providing prospective teachers and their students with improved training and support in this critical area.

The NCTQ report evaluated nearly 700 teacher preparation programs across the United States, scrutinizing whether coursework for future elementary teachers adequately covered the essential components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The analysis considered factors such as instructional hours, assigned readings, assignments and assessments, as well as opportunities for practical application in each aspect of the science of reading provided to future elementary teachers.

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