Reading doctorate approved for UALR The state has approved a doctor of philosophy in reading program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The program will prepare educators who teach reading. Graduates can work as literacy administrators, curriculum specialists and program evaluators, among other jobs, according to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Officials cited a need, pointing to low performance in reading among the average Arkansas public school student. Slightly more than half the students could read at grade level, according to results released July 9 by the Arkansas Department of Education. Results from the stateâ€™s 11th grade literacy exam showed that 2008 scores didnâ€™t change when compared with 2007: 51 percent of 31,075 public school students who took the test scored at proficient or better levels in both years. Proficient is considered grade level. The Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the UALR doctoral program – which can begin in the fall – during a meeting Friday.