Professor Angie Child’s teaching methods boost students’ test scores

Utah Tech University secures the top spot with the highest average score in the foundations for literacy test. Dr. Angie Child, program director for elementary education, guided students to a 92% pass rate. Abigail Byington | Sun News Daily

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The foundations for literacy test is required for all incoming teachers to teach in Utah. This year, Utah Tech University scored the highest average for the entire state.

The foundations for literacy test assess proficiency and an in-depth understanding of the subject of reading and writing development. It also measures the teacher candidate’s foundational knowledge in the science of reading related to literacy instruction as described in the Utah Code.

The elementary education major requires their students to take a two and a half hour class to prepare them for this test, as well as teaching literacy in early education.

Angie Child, associate professor of elementary education, is the only professor who teaches this course.

“There are some universities that have fourteen of me, so it’s really hard to align with all those people,” Child said. “It’s a blessing and a curse that it’s just me.”

Child said she had these students for three semesters for two and a half hours a week, and in their fourth semester, they go into student teaching.

Lacy Demille, a visiting instructor of the practice in elementary teacher education said Dr. Child’s preparation included teaching her students the best literary practices, partnering with an elementary teacher, and expecting her students to utilize what she taught them in their practicum courses as well.

Child sets clear goals for her students and tells them she wants all of them to get 100% on the test.

“The first year, our students had about a week to learn the test,” Child said. “I had nine students and three of them passed. The second year, 75% of my students passed. Then this year I had 92% pass.”

This year, she had 25 students take this test. Other faculty members said Child was the mastermind behind preparing these students and was the reason they all did so well.

“I also wasn’t completely surprised [about the scores] because I know that Dr. Child prepares them well, and these students are very dedicated,” DeMille said. “I feel encouraged and hopeful for our teachers of the future and their students.”

With the current teacher shortage, both Demille and Child feel proud of their students for excelling.

“I can tell you how I felt when I heard how they did; I was extremely proud of our students and program,” DeMille said. “I know it’s a lot of work and not easy.”

Elementary education students also feel they have the support to succeed from all of their faculty members.

Kaitlyn Hougham, a sophomore elementary education major from Las Vegas, said, “The teachers are very hands-on with us, like they’re ready to answer any questions we have about education in general, and they’re willing to help us succeed.”

Child’s main goal is setting these students up for success and ensuring they have all the tools they need to pass this test.

Child said: “[The students] are doing so well. I’m super happy. I mean, I’m just so happy about all of it.”