The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Mississippi offers a supplemental endorsement in general science, which can be added to a certificate with 21 hours of coursework in the subject. A content test is not required. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general science but rather can teach any of the topical areas. The state also offers an endorsement in physical science, which combines physics and chemistry. Candidates are required to pass the Praxis II "Physical Science" test, which combines both physics and chemistry.
Middle school science teachers in Mississippi are required to earn a 21-hour content concentration in science, which can include three to six hours of pedagogy classes. Commendably, candidates must also pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test.
Mississippi Educator Preparation Programs, Process and Performance Reviews http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ed_licensure/teacher_education.html "Guidelines for MS Educator Licensure," page 30 http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ed_licensure/licensure_guidelines.htm 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 general science certifications or combination licenses across multiple science disciplines—and do not require content tests for each area—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Even though general science is a supplemental endorsement, Mississippi is effectively allowing candidates with minimal coursework in a particular area of science—and no testing requirement—to teach virtually any science subject at the secondary level.
Mississippi recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.