Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that secondary teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Content Test Requirements: Oregon allows teachers earning a preliminary license in a secondary single subject to demonstrate subject matter competence by passing a subject-matter test or through coursework requirements.
Endorsements: To add an additional field to a secondary license, teachers in Oregon can demonstrate subject-matter competence by one of two methods: achieving a "passing score on the applicable content test or complete Commission-approved coursework of forty-five quarter hours designed to develop competency" in the core subject area.
Secondary Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, Oregon allows both general science and general social studies licenses without requiring subject-matter testing for each subject area within these disciplines. Because secondary content testing loopholes are scored in 3-E: Secondary Licensure Deficiencies, it is not considered as part of the score for the Secondary Content Knowledge goal.
Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments www.orela.nesinc.com Oregon Administrative Rules 584-210-0030; 584-220-0010; 584-220-0015 Oregon Temporary Administrative Rules 584-200-0005
Require subject-matter testing for secondary teacher candidates.
As a condition of licensure, Oregon should require its secondary teacher candidates to pass a content test in each subject area they plan to teach to ensure that they possess adequate subject-matter knowledge and are prepared to teach grade-level content.
Require subject-matter testing when adding subject-area endorsements.
Oregon should require passing scores on subject-specific content tests, regardless of other coursework or degree requirements, for teachers who are licensed in core secondary subjects and wish to add another subject area, or endorsement, to their licenses. Although coursework may be generally indicative of background in a particular subject area, only a subject-matter test ensures that teachers know the specific content they will need to teach.
Oregon provided more references regarding adding endorsements to existing licenses.
3D: Secondary Content Knowledge
Completion of coursework provides no assurance that prospective teachers know the specific content they will teach. Secondary teachers must be experts in the subject matter they teach, and a rigorous, subject-matter specific test ensures that teacher candidates are sufficiently and appropriately knowledgeable in their content area. In fact, research suggests that a positive correlation exists between teachers' content knowledge and the academic achievement of their students. Coursework is generally only indicative of background in a subject area; even a major offers no certainty of what content has been covered. A history major, for example, could have studied relatively little American history or almost exclusively American history. To assume that the major has adequately prepared the candidate to teach American history, European history, or ancient civilizations is an unwarranted leap of faith, whereas a rigorous content test could verify aspiring teachers' knowledge in each topic area.
Requirements should be just as rigorous when adding an endorsement to an existing license. Many states will allow teachers to add a content area endorsement to their license simply on the basis of having completed coursework. As described above, the completion of coursework does not offer assurance of specific content knowledge. Even states that require a content test for initial licensure should require an additional content test for adding an endorsement.