Middle School Teacher Preparation

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Middle School Teacher Preparation

The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Best practices

Arkansas, Georgia and Pennsylvania ensure that all middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach middle school-level content. Teachers are required to earn at least two content-area minors. Georgia and Pennsylvania also require passing scores on single-subject content tests, and Arkansas requires a subject-matter assessment that reports cut scores for each academic area. 

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6
Best practice 3


Meets goal 7


Nearly meets goal 8


Meets goal in part 11


Meets a small part of goal 11


Does not meet goal 11


Do states’ licensure structures appropriately distinguish between the knowledge and skills needed to teach middle grades and the knowledge and skills needed to teach elementary grades?

Figure details

Yes. State does not offer a K-8 license. : AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV, WY

No. State has insufficient license structures. : CA, MI, MN, NE, RI, UT

CA: California offers a K-12 generalist license for self-contained classrooms.

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.

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