Middle School Teacher Preparation : New York

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : New York results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NY-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of New York's policies

 New York requires academic subject certificates for most middle school teachers. These include mathematics, English, social studies and grade-specific science titles, and each requires a major in the subject area. For K-8 schools that offer nondepartmentalized grades 7 and 8, New York requires a "Generalist in Middle Childhood Education (Grades 5-9)" certificate. These middle school teachers must complete 30 semester hours in content-related coursework.

All new middle school teachers in New York are also required to pass a single-subject test from its New York State Teacher Certification Examination series.


Recommendations for New York

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
New York is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license and for requiring those teaching middle grades in a non-departmentalized setting to receive a middle-grades certificate. However, to further strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation, New York should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas, rather than a single major. The state should retain its requirement for a subject-area major for middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject.

State response to our analysis

New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.