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: Maryland requires middle school education certification (grades 4-9) for all middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers are required to pass a Praxis II single-subject content test to attain licensure.
In addition, teachers adding a middle school endorsement to an existing license are required to complete 30 credit hours (15 of which must be in the content area sought) or pass a Praxis II single-subject content test.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Elementary teachers may also teach in departmentalized middle schools if not less than 50 percent of the teaching assignment is within the elementary education grades. Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in 3-B "Middle School Licensure Deficiencies," it is not considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org COMAR 13A.12.02.05 and 13A.12.01.13
Require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates.
Maryland wisely requires subject-matter tests for most middle school teachers but should address any deficiencies that undermine this policy (see Goal 3-B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies analysis and recommendations).
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.
Maryland was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced 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.