By Elizabeth Liptak, Director of Professional Development, IDA
The second round of university teacher training programs is underway. Ten universities from around the United States submitted their program materials to IDA in January. They are currently being evaluated by a team of three reviewers assigned to each university teacher training program. Following the conclusion of the review period, the newly accredited programs will be announced by IDA in May.
The list of teacher education programs currently under review includes undergraduate and graduate programs, general and special education programs, dyslexia certificate and dyslexia therapist programs. In selecting programs to be reviewed, IDA considers any teacher training program that can make a reasonable claim of aligning with the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (IDA Standards).
Published in 2010, the IDA Standards encompass a knowledge base that is both broad and deep. They include sections on the following:
- Foundations of oral and written language
- Structure of language
- Dyslexia and related learning disorders
- Structured language teaching of phonology, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, text comprehension, handwriting, spelling, and written expression.
The Standards are written at two levels. Level 1 is geared towards teachers in the general education classroom. Level 2 is designed for professionals working in a clinical or therapeutic setting.
To receive IDA accreditation, teacher training programs must demonstrate both a strong knowledge component that is based in research and a practicum component in which students demonstrate mastery of that knowledge by planning appropriate instruction and working with students who are struggling readers.
The nine programs accredited in the first round in 2012 offered exceptional practicum experiences through innovative partnerships with local public and charter schools. A list of the nine programs can be found here. Benefits reported by these nine university teacher training programs since receiving accreditation include increased enrollment, increased faculty knowledge and engagement related to the IDA Standards, and a competitive advantage, especially among other schools in their geographic area.
There are more than 800 Schools of Education throughout the United States, so IDA has only scratched the surface in identifying, reviewing, and accrediting university teacher training programs that meet its teacher training standards. In a relatively short period of time, however, deans, faculty, and students have begun to take notice. Some university programs expressing interest in IDA accreditation have cited demand from prospective students for the depth of knowledge and practicum experience required in the IDA Standards. Other programs, not yet ready to be reviewed, want to learn more about the IDA Standards to inform their development of course content based on the IDA Standards. As we look to the future, a significant focus of IDA’s work will be in providing program consultants to assist these interested programs in enhancing their curricula, developing practicum experiences, and working towards IDA accreditation. Full program reviews for accreditation will continue to be conducted every other year with the next review period scheduled for January 2016.
In the past year, The Examiner has published profiles of the university teacher training programs already accredited by IDA. Look for more of these features in the coming year.
Elisabeth “Liz” Liptak is in an expert in the reading and literacy fields. She served as the Executive Director of the Washington Literacy Council, a community-based direct service program in Washington DC that served struggling adult readers and younger children, prior to joining IDA in May of 2011. Liz has been a reading tutor since 1989.
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