The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Content Test Requirements: Illinois requires a middle grades certification (grades 5-8) for all middle school teachers. Middle school candidates are required to pass Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) single-subject middle school content tests in order to attain licensure.
Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure, only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.
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.
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.