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: Beginning in 2018, Illinois will require middle grades certification (grades 5-8) for all middle school teachers. Middle school candidates will be required to take middle school content exams.
Illinois Administrative Code Title 23 Subsections 21.120 and 25.99 105 IlCS 5/21B-30(d) Illinois Licensure, Endorsement and Approval Requirements https://www.isbe.net/Documents/endsmt_struct.pdf Illinois Licensure Testing System www.il.nesinc.com
Ensure that content tests adequately measure sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Illinois should ensure that its subject-matter tests for middle school teacher candidates is sufficiently rigorous. The state should ensure that the required passing scores on each test reflect high levels of performance. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state indicated that candidates may also complete middle grade programs in areas beyond the "core four" mentioned above.
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.