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 Mexico offers middle school licenses to teach grades 5-9. All new middle school teachers are required to pass a subject-matter test to attain licensure.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, New Mexico also offers a generalist K-8 license. Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in 3-B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies, it is not considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.
Require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates.
New Mexico wisely requires subject-matter tests for most middle school teachers but should address any deficiencies that undermine this policy (see 3-B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies analysis and recommendations).
New Mexico recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis, and was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced 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.