Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content and for the ways that college- and career-readiness standards affect instruction of all subject areas. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Content Test Requirements: Idaho allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license. In addition to passing the Praxis II Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001) test, Idaho also requires generalist candidates to pass a
single-subject content test at either the middle school or secondary
level. This is part of the state's requirement that all candidates
seeking an elementary education endorsement earn a subject-area
endorsement (allowing the teaching of that subject through grade 9) or a
K-12 endorsement as outlined in the requirements for a secondary
Academic Requirements: Candidates must complete a minimum of 20 semester hours in "the philosophical, psychological and methodological foundations and in the professional subject matter of elementary education." Teachers with secondary certificates may also teach single subjects in middle school; they must earn a minimum of 20 semester hours in "the philosophical, psychological and methodological foundations, in instructional technology, and in the professional subject matter of secondary education."
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in 3-B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies, only the test requirements are considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org Idaho Administrative Code 08.02.02.022.03 Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel http://www.sde.idaho.gov/cert-psc/psc/standards/files/standards-initial/Standards-for-Initial-Certification-for-Program-Reviews-after-July-1-2019.pdf
Require content testing in all core areas.
Idaho 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 state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance to ensure meaningful middle school content tests. Although the state's policy is a step in the right direction, it does not ensure that middle school teachers teaching on the generalist license have the requisite subject-matter knowledge in all core content areas.
Middle school teachers licensed to teach multiple subjects should earn two subject-matter minors.
Idaho should encourage middle school teachers licensed to teach multiple subjects to earn two subject-matter minors. This would allow candidates to gain sufficient knowledge to pass state licensing tests, and it would increase schools' staffing flexibility. However, middle school candidates in Idaho who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.
Idaho 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.