OSUM to launch license program
Courses to help teachers meet state requirement
May 17, 2013
Written by Kurt Moore of The Marion Star
MARION — The Ohio State University at Marion will launch a program this summer for elementary teachers in need of their state-required reading endorsement.
Kindergarten through third-grade teachers who work with students diagnosed as deficient in reading skills will need to have a K-12 reading endorsement on their teacher’s licenses under the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee. Mary Jo Fresch, a professor in The Ohio State University Department of Teaching and Learning, said teachers will be able to complete the program within the time given by the state.
“Everything we have planned is with a working teacher in mind,” she said.
Ohio State Marion had included the reading endorsement as part of its master’s program. Fresch said the university split out the endorsement and is offering it separately to help teachers comply with the state mandate.
The reading endorsement program is a 15 semester-hour, graduate-level, non-degree program.
Fresch said students will learn what they need to enable them to pass the required Ohio Assessments for Educators tests required for endorsement.
“We are really meeting today’s needs,” she said.
The Third-Grade Reading Guarantee states that, starting with the 2013-14 school year, third-graders who score below a certain level on the state reading test cannot be promoted to fourth grade.
Elementary schools are required to assess reading skills of students in grades kindergarten through third grade and provide extra services including tutoring and reading instruction to students identified by the diagnostic tests as not being “on-track.”
Teachers without the credential will be able to teach reading to students not affected by the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee and can offer non-reading instruction to all students, regardless of whether they are identified as not on-track.
Teachers, though, who are the primary reading teachers for students considered not on-track, must have the reading endorsement.
Fresch said the reading endorsement coursework gives teachers the tools they need to diagnose in which areas students are struggling and what help they need.
She said the diagnostic tests help determine what is holding students back and also helps identify their strengths.
She compared it to getting an X-ray, saying an X-ray isn’t a valuable tool if the person handed the X-ray doesn’t know how to read it properly.
State legislators passed the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee as part of an education policy package in 2012.
It has faced criticism from school officials because of frequent changes and a concern what to do if teachers aren’t able to meet the requirements in time.
CentralOhio.com reported in April that the Ohio Board of Regents forced several universities to pull their reading endorsement courses because they were not offered at a “graduate level.”
The state, though, is working to give educators more flexibility in demonstrating that they have the required skills as universities fit their programs to meet the criteria.
The changes are meant to address concerns school officials had about whether they would have adequate staff to help meet the guarantee.
The Ohio House approved a bill Wednesday meant to address some of the concerns expressed by school officials.
The Senate must now agree to changes in the bill, originally proposed by the Senate.
Jim Craycraft, interim superintendent at River Valley Local Schools, said he believes the Ohio State Marion program will be beneficial to teachers.
He said other universities are working to come up with online courses and other programs to help teachers meet the requirements.
Craycraft said school administrators are now taking a “just wait and see” approach as legislators work out the details.
“Everything in the new initiatives is good stuff,” he said.
“The problem is just logistics and putting this stuff together.”
To learn more
The enrollment deadline for Ohio State Marion’s K-12 reading endorsement program is June 1. More information is available online at http://osumarion.osu.edu/reading_endorsement.
Enrollment questions may be emailed to Karin Lanius at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding the course and endorsement may be emailed to Mary Jo Fresch at email@example.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this story