The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Massachusetts does not offer certification in general science for secondary teachers. Teachers must be certified in a specific discipline within the subject area of science.
Middle school science teachers in Massachusetts may earn certification in middle grades general science. Candidates seeking this certification must pass the MTEL "General Science" exam. However, they may also complete a mathematics/science program of study consisting of 36 semester hours. These candidates are required to pass the MTEL "Middle School Mathematics/Science" test, in which science comprises 50 percent of the exam.
603 CMR 7.03 (2)(a); 603 CMR 7.06 (11) Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure www.mtel.nesinc.com
Require middle school science teachers to pass a test of content knowledge that ensures sufficient knowledge of science.
Massachusetts's math/science test that combines these two subject areas—without reporting separate scores for each discipline—does not ensure that middle school science teachers possess adequate knowledge of science, as it may be possible to answer many science questions incorrectly and still pass the test.
Massachusetts recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.