Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
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: Massachusetts requires a middle school certificate (grades 5-8) for all middle school teachers. For those seeking single-subject certification, a single-subject Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) content test is required.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: In addition to single-subject licenses and test requirements, Massachusetts also offers the Middle School Humanities license and Math/Science Middle School license. These licenses require passage of the applicable combination test. There are no subscores for each subject. The Humanities MTEL middle school test covers English, history and geography/government/ and economics. The Math/Science MTEL combines math and science into one test.
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.
Test Requirement http://www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/testrequire.html 603 CMR 7.03, -.06
Require content testing in all core areas.
As a condition of initial licensure, all candidates teaching middle grades in Massachusetts should have to pass a subject-matter test in every core academic area they intend to teach. For teachers pursuing combination certificates, it may be possible to answer many questions on one subject incorrectly and still pass the test. This could be accomplished without altering the state's current structure by requiring passing scores for each subject on the combination score, rather than just providing subscores. To ensure meaningful middle school content tests, the state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance.
Massachusetts referred to the middle school MTEL test frameworks for more detail on a breakdown of the associated objectives.
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.