Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Maryland offers secondary certification in general social studies. Candidates must earn a major in social studies or complete 36 hours of coursework with at least two courses each in history, geography, economics and political science. They must also pass the Praxis II "Social Studies" content test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas. Maryland also offers secondary certifications in geography, history and political science. These candidates are required to pass the same general content test.
Middle school social studies teachers in Maryland must be specifically certified to teach social studies. Commendably, candidates are required to pass the Praxis 2 "Middle School Social Studies" test.
COMAR 13A.12.02.05; .06; .13 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and do not require content tests for each area—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Maryland's required assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.