The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
Ohio requires a middle childhood license (grades 4-9) for middle school teachers; candidates must earn "areas of concentration" in at least two content areas. 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.
All new middle school teachers in Ohio are also required to pass a Praxis II subject-matter test to attain licensure. However, only those candidates who wish to be certified in a particular area must pass the single subject test. Candidates who are "middle school generalists" are only required to pass the Praxis II Elementary Education: Content Knowledge test, which does not adequately test requisite knowledge of middle school teachers. In addition, subscores are not provided; therefore, there is no assurance that these middle school teachers will have sufficient knowledge in each subject they teach.
Clarify middle school subject-matter preparation policy.
Ohio is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license. However, it should clarify the meaning of "areas of concentration" to ensure that candidates are earning the equivalent of two minors.
Require appropriate subject-matter testing for middle school teacher candidates.
Ohio should also require adequate subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach, as a condition of initial licensure, rather than the elementary assessment currently required of middle school generalists.
Ohio recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.