The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Georgia offers a secondary certification in "Broad Field Science." Candidates are required to complete a major in one of the science specialty areas (biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics) and at least two additional areas of concentration, defined as at least 15 semester hours of content that address the appropriate specialty area standards. They must also pass the GACE "Science" assessment, which consists of two subtests: The first includes earth science and life science, and the second includes physical science and characteristics of science.
Middle school science teachers in Georgia are required to complete at least two areas of concentration in the following areas: reading, language arts, mathematics, science or social science. Commendably, candidates must also pass the specific GACE "Middle Grades Science" assessment.
Georgia Rules 505-3-.28; .26 Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators www.gace.nesinc.com
Require secondary science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each science discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general science certifications—and only require a general knowledge social studies exam—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. However, although Georgia's testing requirements fall short of ensuring mastery of each science disciple, the fact that candidates have to pass each subtest to pass the overall test means the state is on the right track.
Georgia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.