2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Nevada offers an endorsement in general social studies. Coursework requirements include at least three semester hours each in economics, geography, psychology or sociology, and ethnic studies, with a combined total of 24 semester hours in political science, U.S. history and world history. Candidates must also pass the Praxis II "Social Studies" content test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school social studies teachers in Nevada have the option of a middle grades license. Coursework requirements include 24 semester hours in the social sciences, and, commendably, candidates must pass the Praxis II "Middle School Social Studies" test. Unfortunately, Nevada also allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license (see Goal 1-E).
Nevada Administrative Code 391.111; .1306 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and do not require content tests for each area—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Nevada's required assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.