The state should distinguish between the preparation of middle school and elementary teachers. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Unfortunately, Michigan allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license if they are assigned to self-contained classrooms. Although secondary teacher candidates and those adding a 6-8 endorsement to an elementary license must pass a subject-specific test,
those teaching middle grades in a self-contained classroom on a
generalist license need only pass the general subject-matter test for
elementary education. Therefore, there is no assurance that all middle
school teachers will have sufficient knowledge in each subject they
Michigan offers, but does not require a middle school endorsement to teach grades 6-8.
Michigan Administrative Code Teacher Certification Code R.390.1123(1)(c)(iii) MCL 380.1531(2)(a)
Prepare middle school teachers to teach middle school.
Michigan should not allow middle school teachers to teach on a generalist license that does not differentiate between the preparation of middle school teachers and that of elementary teachers. These teachers are less likely to be adequately prepared to teach core academic areas at the middle school level because their preparation requirements are not specific to the middle or secondary levels, and they need not pass a subject-matter test in each subject they teach. Michigan should ensure that students in grades 7 and 8 have teachers who are appropriately prepared to teach grade-level content.
Require content testing in all core areas.
Michigan 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.
Michigan recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. Please see comments on Goal 2-C: Elementary Reading, in particular those relating to a proposed revision to Michigan's teaching certificate structure. A 5-9 grade band certificate is proposed, with narrower content area authorizations than the current elementary generalist certificate carries. It is envisioned that each content area carried on this certificate will have its own licensure assessment in order to assure depth of content knowledge appropriate to teaching at the middle school level.
NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.
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.