The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
Iowa requires a middle school endorsement (grades 5-8) for all middle school teachers. Candidates must already hold a valid license with either a general elementary endorsement or one of the subject-matter secondary level endorsements. They must also complete 12 semester hours in two content core subjects, which include language arts, science, social studies and mathematics.
Middle school teachers in Iowa are not required to pass a subject-matter test to attain licensure.
Iowa Administrative Code 282-13.27
Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Although Iowa is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license, it should allow middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject to earn a major in that area. It should also consider increasing its current coursework requirement to 15 semester hours, considering that 12 semester hours is considered low for earning a minor.
Require subject-matter testing for middle school teacher candidates.
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.
Iowa cited its regulation regarding minimum content requirements for teaching endorsements, which address single-subject content requirements for grades K-8 and 5-12.