2021 Louisiana Laws
Title 17 - Education
§24.9. Quality early literacy initiative; legislative findings; development; criteria; implementation; limitations
RS 24.9 - Quality early literacy initiative; legislative findings; development; criteria; implementation; limitations
A. The legislature recognizes that reading is the most important academic skill and the foundation for all academic learning. The legislature further recognizes that if our children cannot read then they are on the road to failure. It is for these reasons that the legislature finds that teaching children to read on or above grade level must be the highest priority of the state's educational system.
B. The state Department of Education shall develop a comprehensive and evidence-based early literacy initiative for students in kindergarten through third grade. The department shall:
(1) Develop a program for early literacy that is applicable for all students in kindergarten through third grade including special education students.
(2) Develop a literacy assessment to assess the literacy level of each public school student in kindergarten through third grade.
(a) In developing the literacy assessment, the department shall consider:
(i) The scientific validity and reliability of the literacy assessment.
(ii) The time required to conduct the literacy assessment, with the intention to minimize the impact on instructional time.
(iii) The cost of administering the literacy assessment.
(iv) The timeliness and ease in reporting the results to teachers, administrators, and parents.
(v) The integration of the literacy assessment with instruction.
(b) The literacy assessment shall:
(i) Measure, at a minimum, age-appropriate phonological awareness, phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension.
(ii) Identify students whose literacy skills are below grade level.
(iii) Be a tool to assist in identifying students for further evaluation for specific programming, including students who display characteristics of being dyslexic or gifted.
(3) Provide the literacy assessment, at no cost, to each public school for use in identifying a student's foundational literacy skill level pursuant to R.S. 17:24.10.
(4) Establish the scores on the literacy assessment to determine whether a student's literacy skills are above grade level, on grade level, or below grade level.
(5) Require, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, each public school to administer the literacy assessment to each student in kindergarten through third grade, within the first thirty days of each school year.
(6) Provide, within thirty days after the administration of the literacy assessment, a literacy assessment report to each public school governing authority, each public school, and each public school teacher who teaches students in kindergarten through third grade, the number and percentage of students with literacy skills determined to be above grade level, on grade level, or below grade level. The number of students identified for referral for gifted evaluation or targeted for literacy intervention shall also be reported.
(7)(a) Submit a report, not later than ninety days after the beginning of each school year, to the Senate Committee on Education and the House Committee on Education detailing the results of the literacy assessment for each public elementary school, each public school system, and the state as a whole.
(b) The report shall include:
(i) The number and percentage of students in kindergarten through third grade with literacy skills identified at each proficiency level.
(ii) The number of students identified for referral for gifted evaluation or targeted for literacy intervention.
(iii) Literacy levels by student subgroups.
(c) The data reported shall be submitted in the aggregate and shall not include any personally identifiable information pursuant to R.S. 17:3914.
(8) Report the data for each school, for each school system, and the state as a whole, in the school progress profiles provided pursuant to R.S. 17:3911 and 3912.
C. Not later than July 31, 2022, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall revise teacher certification requirements and the requirements of teacher education programs to require foundational literacy skills standards in all educator preparation programs of all candidates seeking certification to teach students in kindergarten through third grade. The foundational literacy skills standards shall include:
(1) How to effectively teach the foundational literacy skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
(2) How to differentiate instruction for teaching students with advanced literacy skills and students with significant literacy deficiencies, including dyslexia.
(3) How to implement effective literacy instruction using high-quality instructional materials.
(4) Behavior management, trauma-informed principles and practices for the classroom, and other developmentally appropriate supports to ensure that students can effectively access literacy instruction.
(5) How to administer literacy assessments to students and use the resulting data to improve literacy instruction for students.
D. The results from the literacy assessment shall be used in determining school and district performance scores pursuant to the state's school and district accountability system.
E. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to implement the provisions of this Section.
F. The board shall plan for the coordination of this initiative with existing programs and funding sources within schools and school systems.
Acts 1997, No. 1441, §1, eff. July 15, 1997; Acts 2018, No. 307, §§1, 2; Acts 2021, No. 438, §1.