The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
North Dakota offers a composite social studies endorsement for secondary teachers. Candidates are required to pass the Praxis II "Social Studies" content test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school social studies teachers in North Dakota must earn a middle level major in social studies, which includes 24 semester hours of content coursework. Commendably, candidates must pass the Praxis II "Middle School Social Studies" test. Unfortunately, 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 social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and only require a general knowledge social studies 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., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
North Dakota disagreed with this analysis but did not offer any further explanation.