Middle School Teacher Preparation : Arkansas

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Arkansas delineates two competency areas for middle school teachers who are licensed to teach grades 4-8 in either the areas of English language arts/social studies or mathematics/science. Regardless of competency area, middle school teachers must complete 12-15 hours in each of the four academic fields. Candidates then select a major in either English language arts/social studies or mathematics/science, and then they must earn at least 18 credits in each of the two disciplines in their competency area.

As of November 1, 2011, all new middle school teacher candidates will be required to take the Praxis II Middle School: Multiple Subjects assessment, which will report a cut score for each of the four content areas. Candidates will be allowed to re-take any section that they do not pass; however, all sections must be passed prior to licensure.


Recommendations for Arkansas

State response to our analysis

Arkansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

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.