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: Ohio requires a middle childhood license (grades 4-9) for middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers in Ohio are required to pass a specific subject-area test from the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) tests to attain licensure. Teachers may also add a middle school generalist endorsement to an existing middle school license in order to add grades 4-6 in the additional content areas. Teachers adding this endorsement must complete an additional six semester hours in each of the content areas to be added and must pass either the middle school content test in the applicable subject area or the elementary content test.
Academic Requirements: Middle school candidates in Ohio must earn areas of concentration in at least two content areas. The state defines "areas of concentration" as earning the equivalent of two minors (at least 12 semester hours). Teachers with secondary certificates are allowed to teach single subjects in middle school. Those candidates must earn an academic major in all areas to be taught.
Ohio Assessment for Educators www.oh.nesinc.com Ohio Administrative Code 3301-24-05 and 3301-24-18 Ohio Revised Code 3319.233 and .24
Ensure that content tests adequately measure sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Ohio should ensure that its subject-matter tests for middle school teacher candidates is sufficiently rigorous. The state should ensure that the required passing scores on each test reflect high levels of performance. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Ohio 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.