2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Nevada offers an endorsement in general science. Candidates must complete either a major (36 credit hours) or a minor (24 credit hours) in general science. Requirements for the major include at least three semester hours in each of the following: biology; chemistry; physics; and earth science, space science, electronics or engineering. Requirements for the minor include at least three semester hours in chemistry, physics and biology. Candidates must pass the Praxis II "General Science, Part 1" test and the "General Science: Content Essays" test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general science but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Nevada also offers an endorsement in physical science. Requirements for this major include at least six semester hours each in chemistry and physics, and three semester hours each in geology, and earth science, electronics or engineering. Requirements for the minor include three semester hours in each of the following: chemistry; physics; geology; and earth science, space science, electronics or engineering. These candidates must pass the Praxis II "General Science, Part 1" test.
Middle school science teachers in Nevada have the option of a middle grades license. Coursework requirements include 24 semester hours in science and, commendably, candidates must pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test. Regrettably, however, Nevada also allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license (see Goal 1-E).
Nevada Administrative Code 391.111; .125; .1301; .1304; .1305 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each science discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general science certifications or combination licenses across multiple science disciplines—and only require a general knowledge science exam—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Nevada's required general assessments combine subject areas (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics) and do not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—chemistry questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach chemistry to high school students.
Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.