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: Iowa requires that middle school teachers add a 5-8 endorsement to either a K-6 endorsement or a 5-12 subject-matter endorsement. All new middle school teachers in Iowa have the option of passing a middle school single-subject Praxis content test and pedagogy test, or passing the edTPA test, to attain licensure. The edTPA is not a content test.
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.
Test Requirements https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/educator-quality/practitioner-preparation#Required_Test_Qualifying_Scores Iowa Administrative Code 281-79.15(5) and 282-13.27 Program Completion Testing Overview letter July 2019 https://educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/Program%20Completion%20Testing%20Overview%20letter%20July%202019.pdf
Require content testing in all core areas.
Iowa 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 option of the edTPA means that middle school teachers need not pass a content test at all in order to be certified. While performance assessments such as the edTPA provide an opportunity for teacher candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in sample lessons, they are not designed to measure the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills needed in a single area.
Iowa recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.