Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 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 middle school single-subject content test to attain licensure.
However, the state allows an exemption to candidates who have failed to meet the passing score by 5% if they have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
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.
Test Requirement www.ets.org/praxis New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:9B-8.2; 9.1; 9.2; 11.9
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.