2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
Idaho allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license. The state requires these candidates to complete a minimum of 24 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."
All new middle school teachers in Idaho are also required to pass a Praxis II subject-matter test to attain licensure. However, candidates are only required to pass the general content test for elementary education, in which subscores are not provided; therefore, there is no assurance that these middle school teachers will have sufficient knowledge in each subject they teach.
Idaho Administrative Code 08.02.02 www.ets.org/praxis
Eliminate K-8 generalist license.
Idaho should not allow middle school teachers to teach on a generalist license that does not differentiate between the preparation of middle school teachers and that of elementary teachers. These teachers are less likely to be adequately prepared to teach core academic areas at the middle school level because their preparation requirements are not specific to the middle or secondary levels and they need not pass a subject-matter test in each subject they teach. Adopting middle school teacher preparation policies for all such teachers will help ensure that students in grades 7 and 8 have teachers who are appropriately prepared to teach grade level content, which is different and more advanced than what elementary teachers teach.
Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Idaho should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas. Middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.
Require subject-matter testing for middle school teacher candidates.
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.
Idaho recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.