Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Ohio offers a teaching field in integrated science for secondary teachers. Candidates have two options regarding Praxis II testing requirements. The first is passing both the "Chemistry, Physics and General Science" test and the "Biology" test. The second option requires candidates to pass both the "Biology and General Science" test, and one of the following: "Chemistry," "Physics," or "Earth and Space Sciences." Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general science but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school science teachers in Ohio must earn an area of concentration in science, along with another content area. Commendably, candidates must also pass the Praxis II "Middle School Science" test.
Ohio Administrative Code 3301-24-05 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—and only require a general knowledge science exam—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Ohio's required general assessments combine subject areas (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics) and do not report separate scores for each subject area. The state's first testing option could result in candidates getting many questions wrong in the areas of chemistry, physics, and/or earth and space science, for example, yet still passing the test—and going on to teach these subjects in high school. Ohio's second option falls short as well, failing to guarantee requisite content knowledge in each subject area within integrated science.
Ohio asserted that it does not offer general science but rather an "integrated science" license. The state argued that with integrated science licensure, subject-matter testing for each subject area within the discipline does occur because it requires a combination of two tests, a broader one and a more specific one: "The structure of this testing requirement was designed specifically to ensure that all components of the integrated area are tested." This can be accomplished in ways other than just requiring a separate, single-discipline test for each component — for example, by requiring a combination of tests that, when taken together, test each subject area within the discipline.
Although Ohio is doing more than most states to measure content knowledge across the disciplines, the state's combination tests still do not ensure content knowledge in all subject areas. Subscores are not provided for the assessments that combine subject areas, namely the Praxis II "Chemistry, Physics and General Science" test for the first option and the "Biology and General Science" test for the second option.