Assigned to ED†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† FOR COMMITTEE






Fifty-Fifth Legislature, First Regular Session




schools; early literacy


Establishes a literacy instruction assessment for teacher certification applicants. Creates an entry evaluation tool for kindergarten pupils and outlines parental notification requirements for pupils with identified reading deficiencies.


The State Board of Education (SBE) oversees teacher certification and issues teaching certificates. An applicant in good standing with a valid fingerprint clearance card and a valid teaching certificate from another state is eligible for a comparable standard certificate in Arizona. An in-state applicant for a standard teaching certificate may complete the required training through an alternative teacher and administrator preparation program, coursework and experience or professional experience. All certification applicants for common school instruction must complete at least 45 classroom hours or 3 college-level credit hours, or the equivalent, in both research-based: a) systematic phonics instruction; and b) reading instruction, including assessment training, instructional practices and interventions to improve student reading proficiency. Starting July 1, 2021 the instruction must meet dyslexia training requirements (A.R.S. ß 15-501.01).

Currently, the SBE must provide universal screening in preschool through grade three to identify pupils having reading deficiencies (A.R.S. ß 15-701). Statute directs the Arizona Department of Education to develop a dyslexia screening plan that ensures each student in kindergarten or grade one in an Arizona public school is screened for indicators of dyslexia, provides guidance for parental notification of students who are identified as having indicators of dyslexia and is developed collaboratively with the ADE-designated dyslexia specialist and other experts. Screening for indicators of dyslexia is based on: 1) phonological and phonemic awareness; 2) rapid naming skills; 3) correspondence between sounds and letters; 4) nonsense word repetition; and 5) sound symbol recognition (A.R.S. ß 15-704).

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.


Teaching Certification

1.   Requires beginning August 1, 2022, the SBE to direct applicants for common instruction certification to pass a literacy instruction assessment demonstrating an applicantís ability to:

a)   effectively teach foundational reading sills, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension;

b)   implement reading instruction utilizing high-quality instructional materials; and

c)   provide effective instruction and interventions for students with reading deficiencies, including students with characteristics of dyslexia.

2.   Requires beginning August 1, 2022, the SBE to direct all Arizona education preparation programs to require teacher recertification applicants to pass a literacy instruction assessment and provide for:

a)   preparing applicants to effectively teach foundational reading skills, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension; and

b)   implementing reading instruction using high-quality instructional materials.

Kindergarten entry evaluation

3.   Directs the SBE, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year if sufficient monies are appropriated, to adopt a statewide kindergarten entry evaluation tool administered to pupils in kindergarten programs within:

a)   45 calendar days after the start of each school year; or

b)   45 calendar days after a pupil enrolls.

Parental Notification

4.   Requires that a parent of any pupil receives a written notification, within 15 days after a reading deficiency is identified, at any time during the school year.

5.   Specifies a written notification must notify the parent of the following:

a)   their pupil is identified as having a reading deficiency and the pupilís parents, teacher, principal and pertinent school personnel will develop a reading improvement plan;

b)   the current services provided to the pupil;

c)   the proposed research-based reading interventions and supplemental instruction services for the pupil that are designed to remedy the identified areas of the pupilís reading deficiency;

d)   notification of written updates for the parent, at least once every two weeks, regarding the pupilís progress toward grade-level reading;

e)   strategies for the parent to use at home to help the pupil succeed in reading;

f) their pupil will not be promoted to grade four if the pupilís reading deficiency is not corrected by the end of grade three, unless the pupil meets prescribed exemptions; and

g)   that the statewide English Language Arts assessment is not the sole determiner for promotion at the end of grade three, and pupils are provided with options including a test-based student portfolio and an alternative reading assessment to demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to grade four.


6.   Makes technical and conforming changes.

7.   Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Prepared by Senate Research

February 12, 2021