Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content and for the ways that college- and career-readiness standards affect instruction of all subject areas. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Content Test Requirements: North Carolina requires a middle-grades (6-9) certificate for all middle school teachers. Middle school teachers in North Carolina are required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test; a general content knowledge test is not an option. North Carolina also allows teachers with an existing license to add a teaching area with either coursework or a passing score on a content test.
However, the state allows teachers to fulfill this testing requirement in their second year of teaching, provided they attempt to pass the assessments during their first year.
Academic Requirements: North Carolina clearly requires that candidates must complete a teacher preparation program, but its requirements are somewhat more ambiguous regarding coursework requirements.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org North Carolina General Statutes Section 115C-296 NC Board of Education Policy Manual, LICN-001 and 003
Require content testing in all core areas prior to entering the classroom.
North Carolina 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. Allowing teachers to delay passage of the test until the teacher has already been in the classroom for two years does not ensure that every teacher has adequate subject-matter knowledge. To ensure meaningful middle school content tests, the state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance.
Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
North Carolina should encourage middle school teachers to earn two subject-matter minors. This would allow candidates to gain sufficient knowledge to pass state licensing tests, and it would increase schools' staffing flexibility. However, middle school candidates in North Carolina who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.
Close the loophole that allows teachers to add middle-grade levels to an existing license without demonstrating content knowledge.
NCTQ urges the state to require that all teachers who add the middle-grade levels to their certificates pass a rigorous subject-matter test to ensure content knowledge of all subject areas before they teach in a classroom as the teacher of record.
In response to NCTQ's analysis of academic requirements, North Carolina cited portions of Senate Bill 599 (2017)
S599 115C-269.2(1 & 4)
3A: Middle School Content Knowledge
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.