Middle School Content Knowledge: New
Hampshire

Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 2017.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2020). Middle School Content Knowledge: New Hampshire results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NH-Middle-School-Content-Knowledge-91

Analysis of New Hampshire's policies

Content Test Requirements: New Hampshire offers a middle school (grades 5-8) license for middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers are required to pass a Praxis middle school single-subject content test to attain licensure. New Hampshire also allows teachers with secondary certificates to teach single subjects.

Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, New Hampshire offers a generalist K-8 license. Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in "Middle School Licensure Deficiencies," it is not considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.

Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure , only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.

Citation

Recommendations for New Hampshire

Require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates.
New Hampshire wisely requires subject-matter tests for most middle school teachers but should address any deficiencies that undermine this policy (see Middle School Licensure Deficiencies analysis and recommendations).

State response to our analysis

New Hampshire indicated that it currently offers the following endorsements that are content specific in the middle school grade span and the corresponding test code. 
Earth and Space Science (7-12) 1304
English (5-8) 0501
English (5-12) 0500
Life Science (7-12) 1301
Mathematics, Middle Level (to Algebra/Integrated I) 1102
Physical Science (7-12) 1313
Physics (7-12) 1309
Science (5-8) 1305
Social Studies (5-8) 1501

Updated: February 2020

How we graded

3A: Middle School Content Knowledge 

  • Content Tests: The state should require that all new middle school teachers pass a separately scored subject-matter test in every core academic area for which they are licensed to teach.
Content Tests
The total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state can earn full credit if it offers a middle school license and requires teachers to pass a licensing test in every core academic area in which they are licensed to teach. 
  • One-quarter credit: In some cases, a state can earn one-quarter of a credit for mitigating the negative aspects of a K-8 license, for example, requiring a single subject test to teach that subject at the middle school level.
  • 0/0 credit: The state will not earn any credit if it only offers a K-8 license and only requires an elementary content test.

Research rationale

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.[1] 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.


[1] For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see: Dee, T. S., & Cohodes, S. R. (2008). Out-of-field teachers and student achievement: Evidence from matched-pairs comparisons. Public Finance Review, 36(1), 7-32.; Chaney, B. (1995). Student outcomes and the professional preparation of eighth-grade teachers in science and mathematics. NSF/NELS: 88 Teacher Transcript Analysis. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED389530; Weglinsky, H. (2000). How teaching matters: Bringing the classroom back into discussions of teacher quality (Policy Information Center report). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICTEAMAT.pdf ; A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. US Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/report/final-report.pdf