The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Although Maryland commendably does not offer a general science certification for secondary teachers, it does have a physical science certification, for which candidates must earn either a major in the certification area, or complete at least 36 hours of content coursework in the certification area. Candidates must pass the Praxis II "Chemistry, Physics and General Science" test.
Middle school science teachers in Maryland must be specifically certified to teach science. Commendably, candidates are required to pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test.
COMAR 13A.12.02.05; .06 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each science discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow combination licenses across multiple science disciplines—and require only a comprehensive content test—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Maryland's required assessment combines both physics and chemistry and does not report separate scores for each subject. Therefore, a candidate could, for example, answer many physics questions incorrectly on the combination content test, yet still be licensed to teach physics to high school students.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.