2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
California has not adopted specific middle school teacher preparation policies. Instead, the state offers both a K-12 Single Subject Teaching Credential and a K-12 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential; therefore, the type of credential that middle school teachers are required to have depends on whether they intend to teach in a self-contained or departmentalized classroom.
Teacher candidates who wish to earn a multiple subject teaching credential must pass all three subtests of the state's subject-matter examination. Those who want a 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.
Prepare middle school teachers to teach middle school.
California should not allow middle school teachers to teach on a generalist license that does not differentiate between the preparation of middle school teachers and that of elementary teachers. These teachers are less likely to be adequately prepared to teach core academic areas at the middle school level because their preparation requirements are not specific to the middle or secondary levels and they need not pass a subject-matter test in each subject they teach. Adopting middle school teacher preparation policies for all such teachers will help ensure that students in grades 7 and 8 have teachers who are appropriately prepared to teach grade level content, which is different and more advanced than what elementary teachers teach.
Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
California should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas. Middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.
Require subject-matter testing for middle school teacher candidates.
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. The state's policy of only requiring middle school teachers who teach multiple subjects to take the same subject-matter test as elementary teachers is simply not adequate.
California recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.