The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Secondary social studies teachers in Arizona have the option of a general social studies teaching field license. Candidates are required to pass the AEPA "Social Studies" test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach all core academic social studies classes. Further, although Arizona requires secondary teachers to be highly qualified in each specific subject area (e.g., history, geography), this requirement does not ensure that they will have passed a content test.
There is an optional middle grades social studies endorsement for teachers who already have either an elementary or secondary certificate. Teachers holding a valid elementary or secondary teaching certificate who want to attach a middle grades social studies area must pass the AEPA "Middle Grades Social Studies" test. Arizona also allows middle school social studies teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license (see Goal 1-E).
Arizona Administrative Code, Title 7, R7-2-607(J) Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments www.aepa.nesinc.com "The Difference Between State Certification and Federal Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements" http://www.ade.az.gov/asd/hqtp/TheDifference.pdf
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and do not require content tests for each area—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Arizona's assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
Require middle school social studies teachers to pass a test of content knowledge that ensures sufficient knowledge of social studies.
Although the state requires a specific middle grades social studies test for its middle grades social studies endorsement, this endorsement is optional. Therefore, Arizona does not ensure that all middle school teachers possess adequate knowledge of social studies.
Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.