Middle School Teacher Preparation : District
of Columbia

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DC-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

The District of Columbia requires middle-level certification for all middle school teachers. The District also requires that all middle school teachers complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in a content-related major.

All new middle school teachers in the District are also required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content knowledge test is not an option.

Citation

Recommendations for District of Columbia

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
The District of Columbia is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license. However, it should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas, rather than a single major. The District should retain its requirement for a subject-area major for middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia recognized the factual accuracy of 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.