Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
Maryland requires middle school education certification (grades 4-9) for all middle school teachers. However, these teachers are only required to complete a teacher preparation program; the state does not explicitly require a major or minor in these subject areas.
All new middle school teachers in Maryland are also required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content knowledge test is not an option.
COMAR 13A.12.02.05 www.ets.org/praxis
Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Although Maryland is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license, it should strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation. Maryland should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas. Middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.
Maryland asserted that its route for preparing middle-level teachers—an approved middle-level preparation program (4-9) based on National Middle School Association (NMSA) standards—requires depth and breadth in two content areas. Further, candidates are required to pass the appropriate middle-level content tests as a condition of licensure. While grade bands allow for some crossover of grade-level certification (e.g., secondary teachers may appropriately teach grades 7 and 8), actual certification at the middle level requires a specialized program.
Maryland also contended that it has two approved programs that lead to initial middle school certification. This program development resulted from actions of the Board of Education's decision to no longer issue a generalist license, which would allow new middle school teachers to teach on that license. This decision became effective July 1, 2009. Currently, other higher education institutions, in collaboration with the state, are in the process of developing middle-level preparation programs.