Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should distinguish between the preparation of middle school and elementary teachers. This goal was consistent between 2017 and 2020.
Commendably, starting July 1, 2022, Maine will no longer offer a K-8 license.
Until then Maine allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license. Those teaching on this generalist license need only pass the content test required of elementary teachers. Although subscores are provided, this assessment does not adequately assess the content knowledge required of middle school teachers. Therefore, there is no assurance that these middle school teachers will have sufficient knowledge in each subject they teach.
Maine offers, but does not require, middle school licenses (grades 5-8).
Rule 05-071 Chapter 13, and 115, Part II, Sections 1.2 and 1.3
Require content testing in all core areas.
Maine should require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach as a condition of initial licensure. The state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance to ensure meaningful middle school content tests.
Maine did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
3B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies
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.