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: Nevada offers a middle school license. The state no longer specifies a grade span for those licenses but allows a teacher to teach in any middle school or junior high school. All new middle school teachers in Nevada are required to pass a Praxis II subject-matter test to attain licensure. Nevada also allows teachers to add areas of certification without passing a content test.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, Nevada 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.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org Nevada Administrative Code 391..045; 090; .111; .113; .120 Nevada Revised Statutes 391.0315 Assembly Bill 77 (2017) Sections 19 and 21 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/AB/AB77_EN.pdf
Close the loophole that allows teachers to add middle-grade levels to an existing license without demonstrating content knowledge.
NCTQ urges the state to require that all teachers who add the middle-grade levels to their certificates pass a rigorous subject-matter test to ensure content knowledge of all subject areas before they teach in a classroom as the teacher of record.
Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state also noted that in accordance with the proposed definition of full-state certification as outlined in the USED-approved ESSA plan the Commission on Professional Standards has held Public Workshops to amend regulatory language that would require that all middle school educators pass the corresponding content area examination for the subject that they teach. The Nevada Department of Education anticipates that these will become effective in early 2018, pending Public Hearings by the Legislative Commission.
NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.
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.