NEWARK, Del., Dec. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Michigan State Board of Education recently approved new teacher preparation standards for lower elementary (pre-K–3) and upper elementary (3–6) education, making it the first state to formally incorporate ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017).

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ILA’s Standards 2017 are the first-ever set of national standards guiding the preparation of literacy professionals. Drafted by a team of 28 literacy experts from across the United States, and led by project cochairs Rita M. Bean, University of Pittsburgh, PA, and Diane E. Kern, University of Rhode Island, the updated standards describe what candidates for the literacy profession should know and be able to do in professional settings, integrating research-based promising practices, professional wisdom and feedback from various stakeholders during public comment periods.

Since 2015, third-grade reading scores have seen the largest decline in a subject area in the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress’s three-year history. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the percentage of Michigan third graders passing the English language arts test—which measures reading, writing, listening and language—dropped to 44.1% in 2017, compared with 50% in 2015.

In an interview published by WKAR, Nell K. Duke, a professor in literacy, language and culture and the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan and a past member of ILA’s Literacy Research Panel, identified teacher preparation as one of the major keys to successful literacy reform.

«Michigan is not where we want it to be in terms of literacy achievement, and so we’re looking for all different ways to try to address that issue,» she said. «One of the ways we can address it is by trying to have our teachers as well prepared as possible to teach reading and other literacy skills.»

Stakeholders representing pre-K–12 teachers and administrators, college and university teacher educators and education researchers began meeting in October 2016 to revise elementary education teacher preparation standards to better meet the unique learning needs of students at each grade level. The elementary teacher preparation standards were the first set of standards selected for review and revision due to an expressed focus on early literacy.

Sean Kottke, manager of the Educator Preparation Unit of the Michigan Department of Education, says Michigan stakeholders are already working to incorporate Standards 2017 into the 5–9 and 7–12 grade bands as well as the state’s standards for reading specialists.

ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post congratulated Michigan on becoming a national leader in adopting the standards.

«We are thrilled to see Michigan leading the way in adopting the standards,» she said. «This is a powerful mark of their commitment to continuous improvement.»  

Learn more about ILA’s Standards 2017 here.

About the International Literacy Association
The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all through its network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers and experts across 146 countries. With over 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught and evaluated. ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 provides an evidence-based benchmark for the development and evaluation of literacy professional preparation programs. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students and inform policymakers. ILA publishes The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly, which are peer reviewed and edited by leaders in the field. For more information, visit

Alina O’Donnell


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SOURCE International Literacy Association