The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
North Dakota offers a composite science endorsement for secondary teachers. Candidates are required to pass the Praxis II "General Science" test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general science but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school science teachers in North Dakota must earn a middle level major in science, which includes 24 semester hours of content coursework. Commendably, candidates must pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test. Regrettably, however, North Dakota also allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K/1-8 license if the school is classified as an elementary school (see Goal 1-E).
License Codes http://www.nd.gov/espb/licensure/codes.html 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—and only require a general knowledge science exam—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. North Dakota's required general assessment combines subject areas (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—chemistry questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach chemistry to high school students.
North Dakota disagreed with this analysis but did not offer any further explanation.