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: California does not have a middle school license. Teachers with a multiple-subjects teaching credential are authorized to teach any grade in a self-contained classroom. Teachers with a single-subject teaching certificate are authorized to teach any grade in their subject area.
Candidates for either the multiple subjects or single-subject credential may demonstrate their subject-matter competence by either completing a state-approved subject-matter preparation program or passing the appropriate subject-matter examination.
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.
California Education Code 44258 and 44258.1 Single Subject Teaching Credential Requirements http://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/leaflets/cl560c.pdf?sfvrsn=16 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Requirements http://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/leaflets/cl561c.pdf?sfvrsn=12
Require content testing in all core areas.
California should require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach as a condition of initial licensure. Allowing middle school teachers to teach in a self-contained classroom or a single-subject without passing a content test is unacceptable. To ensure meaningful middle school content tests, California should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance.
California did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
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.