Middle School Teacher Preparation : Delaware

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : Delaware results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DE-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of Delaware's policies

Delaware requires middle-level certification for all middle school teachers. It appears, however, that these teachers are only required to complete a teacher preparation program; the state does not explicitly require a major or minor in these subject areas.

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


Recommendations for Delaware

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Delaware is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license. But the state should strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation by encouraging middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic subjects.

State response to our analysis

Delaware reiterated that it does not allow for a generalist middle school grades certification. The state requires content-specific certification—the Praxis II—for all secondary subject areas, including all middle grades. Further, university programs are governed by NCATE requirements, and Delaware's colleges and universities generally require content-specific preparation for all aspiring middle school teachers.

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.