The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Iowa offers secondary certification in general social sciences. Candidates are required to complete a total of 51 semester hours that include nine semester hours in American and world history, nine semester hours in government, six semester hours in sociology, six semester hours in psychology (other than educational psychology), six semester hours in geography and six semester hours in economics. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas. Regrettably, secondary teachers in Iowa are not required to pass a content test.
Middle school teachers in Iowa must complete a social studies concentration, which requires 12 semester hours of coursework that includes U.S. history, world history, government and geography. The state also does not require that middle school teachers pass a content test.
Iowa Administrative Code 282-13.27(3); 13.28(18)
Require secondary social science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social science discipline they intend to teach.
Although coursework plays a key role in teachers' acquisition of content knowledge, it should be accompanied by the requirement of an assessment, which is the only way to ensure that teachers possess adequate knowledge of the subject area.
Require middle school social studies teachers to pass a test of content knowledge that ensures sufficient knowledge of social science.
Iowa recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.