Middle School Teacher Preparation : Missouri

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : Missouri results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MO-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of Missouri's policies

Missouri requires middle school certification (grades 5-9) for all middle school teachers. Candidates must earn a minimum of 21 semester hours in one content area.

All new middle school teachers in Missouri are also required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content knowledge test is not an option.

Citation

Recommendations for Missouri

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Missouri is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license. However, it should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas, rather than a single major. In addition, middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.

State response to our analysis

Missouri recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state pointed out that new standards for educator preparation are being developed and that NCTQ's recommendations will be considered when discussing the revision of certification requirements.

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.