2017 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: Louisiana requires a middle grades certificate (grades 4-8) for all middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers in Louisiana are required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general
content knowledge test is not an option.
Louisiana also allows teachers to add middle school area endorsements to existing certificates with either 30 credit hours in the area or a passing score on a content test.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 28, Bulletin 746, Section 203; 609
Ensure that content tests adequately measure sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Louisiana 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.
Close the loophole that allows teachers to add middle-grade levels to an existing license without demonstrating content knowledge.
NCTQ urges the state to require that all teachers who add the middle-grade levels to their certificates pass a rigorous subject-matter test to ensure content knowledge of all subject areas before they teach in a classroom as the teacher of record.
Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state also indicated that In October 2016, the Board of
Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) adopted updated competencies,
including literacy competencies, that identify the essential knowledge and
skills that aspiring teachers must demonstrate in order to be eligible for
initial certification. According to the state, its competencies for initial
teacher certification define what a teacher candidate must know and be able to
do in order to be eligible for certification upon completion of a BESE-approved
teacher preparation program and are aligned with student standards.
In addition, Louisiana noted that the competencies were developed in collaboration with content experts, elementary and secondary educators, and postsecondary education leaders. Preparation providers and their school system partners co-construct preparation experiences that develop these competencies through quality practice experiences, including a yearlong residency.
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.