Secondary Teacher Preparation in Social
Studies: Montana

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Secondary Teacher Preparation in Social Studies: Montana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MT-Secondary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Social-Studies-6

Analysis of Montana's policies

Montana offers secondary certification in broad-field social studies, which must include a concentration in history and government and additional coursework in economics, geography, psychology and/or sociology. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas. Candidates are not required to pass a subject-matter test.

Montana does not articulate any specific coursework or testing requirements for middle school social studies teachers, who are allowed to teach on a generalist K-8 license (see Goal 1-E).

Citation

Recommendations for Montana

Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
Although coursework plays a key role in teachers' acquisition of content knowledge, it should be accompanied by the requirement of an assessment, which is the only way to ensure that teachers possess adequate knowledge of the subject area.

Require middle school social studies teachers to pass a test of content knowledge that ensures sufficient knowledge of social studies.

State response to our analysis

Montana declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.

Research rationale

Carlisle, J. F., Correnti, R., Phelps, G., & Zeng, J., "Exploration of the contribution of teachers' knowledge about reading to their students' improvement in reading." Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 459-486 (2009) includes evidence specifically related to the importance of secondary social studies knowledge.
 
In addition, research studies have demonstrated the positive impact of teacher content knowledge on student achievement.  For example, see D. Goldhaber, "Everyone's Doing It, But What Does Teacher Testing Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness?" Journal of Human Resources, vol. XLII no.4 (2007).  Evidence can also be found in White, Presely, DeAngelis "Leveling up: Narrowing the teacher academic capital gap in Illinois," Illinois Education Research Council (2008); D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "Does teacher certification matter? High School Certification Status and Student Achievement." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 22: 129-145. (2000); and D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "Why Don't Schools and Teachers Seem to Matter? Assessing the impact of Unobservables on Educational Productivity." Journal of Human Resources (1998). See also Harris, D., and Sass, T., "Teacher Training, Teacher Quality and Student Achievement." Teacher Quality Research (2007).