Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Content Test Requirements:
Alaska offers a middle school endorsement to teach grades 6-8. Middle school teachers in Alaska are required to pass a Praxis subject-matter test to attain licensure.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, Alaska also offers a K-8 generalist license. Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in "Middle School Licensure Deficiencies," it is not considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.
Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure, only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org/praxis 4 Alaska Administrative Code 12.407
Require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates.
Alaska wisely requires subject-matter tests for most middle school teachers but should address any deficiencies that undermine this policy (see 3-B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies analysis and recommendations).
Alaska recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
3A: Middle School Content Knowledge
Middle school grades are critical years of schooling. It is in these years that far too many students fall through the cracks. However, requirements for the preparation and licensure of middle school teachers can be especially problematic. States need to distinguish the knowledge and skills needed by middle school teachers from those needed by an elementary teacher. Whether teaching a single subject in a departmentalized setting or teaching multiple subjects in a self-contained setting, middle school teachers must be able to teach significantly more advanced content than elementary teachers. In order to do so, middle school teachers must be deeply knowledgeable about every subject they will be licensed to teach, and able to pass a licensing test in every core subject to demonstrate this knowledge. The notion that someone should be identically prepared to teach first grade or eighth grade mathematics seems ridiculous, but states that license teachers on a K-8 generalist certificate essentially endorse this idea.