four children sit on floor in a library reading books

Worcester State ranked among state’s three best for elementary reading education

June 13, 2023
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Worcester State University has one of the three best programs in the state for preparing educators to teach elementary reading, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The university received an ‘A’ for undergraduate elementary reading instruction, along with just two other schools, Gordon College and Bay Path University in the June 2023 report, Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction. A total of 19 public and private programs in the state were evaluated; 15 more declined to participate.

Worcester State University was founded as a teacher training college and has a nearly 150 year history of educating the next generation of teachers. The Education Department’s reading program at the undergraduate and graduate levels were redesigned by assistant professor Heidi Wojcik, noted Dr. Raynold Lewis, dean of Education, Liberal & Interdisciplinary Studies.

“Since coming to WSU in fall 2019 as a tenure track professor, Dr. Wojcik has positively impacted the MTEL pass rate and the methodological practices in the reading courses,” said Lewis. “As dean, l am proud of all Education faculty; and especially proud of the contributions that Dr. Heidi Wojcik is making to our Teacher Preparation Program.”

Using data provided by the universities, NCTQ evaluated course requirements, syllabi and course materials, planned lecture topics, assigned readings, assignments and assessments. They looked for whether aspiring teachers learn about five core components of scientifically based reading instruction through four different instructional approaches. The core components are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The instructional approaches are instructional hours, objective measures of knowledge such as tests, practice providing instruction, and background materials.

The ranking, which placed the state of Massachusetts at No. 35 in the US, noted that one-third of fourth graders in the US cannot read at a basic level.





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