Middle School Teacher Preparation : Kentucky

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : Kentucky results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/KY-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of Kentucky's policies

Kentucky requires an "early adolescent" specialization (grades 5-9) for all middle school teachers. Candidates have two options for earning the middle school specialization. The first is completing a major in English and communications, mathematics, science or social studies; the second is completing an unspecified amount of coursework in two of those four academic fields.

All new middle school teachers in Kentucky are also required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content knowledge test is not an option.


Recommendations for Kentucky

Prevent any loopholes in middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Kentucky is commended for ensuring that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach middle school-level content. However, Kentucky should consider strengthening its second option for middle school specialization to ensure that the amount of required coursework is equivalent to that of two minors.

State response to our analysis

Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.