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: New Jersey requires middle school teachers (grades 5-8) to teach on an "elementary school with subject matter specialization" endorsement. All new middle school teachers in New Jersey are also required to pass a Praxis II single-subject content test to attain licensure.
However the state allows an exemption to candidates who have failed to meet the passing score by five percent if they have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Academic Requirements: All middle school candidates in New Jersey must have a bachelor's degree. Those teaching more than one content area must be certified in each additional area, which requires 15 credit hours of study in that subject.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:9B-8.2; 9.2; 11.9 Certificate Endorsements and Codes http://www.nj.gov/cgi-bin/education/license/endorsement.pl?string=999&maxhits=1000&field=1
Require content testing in all core areas.
As a condition of initial licensure, New Jersey should require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach regardless of their GPA. While a GPA may be a good indication of a candidate's academic strengths across a varied curriculum, only a passing score on content tests ensures that a teacher is prepared to teach the subject matter for the license they hold.
New Jersey recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.