Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
Pennsylvania offers secondary certification in general social studies. Candidates are required to pass the Praxis II "Social Studies" content test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Further, the state offers two additional combination certifications: general social sciences and citizenship education (a compilation of U.S. history, world history, government/civics/political science, geography and economics). Candidates must pass similarly titled Praxis II exams, which combine multiple subject areas and fail to report subscores.
Middle school social studies teachers in Pennsylvania have the option of a middle level social studies certificate. Candidates must earn an academic major and, commendably, pass the Praxis II "Middle School Social Studies" test.
Types of Certificates in PA http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/types_of_certificates/8823 Pennsylvania Code Title 22, Chapters 354.24 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and only require a general knowledge social studies exam—are not ensuring that their secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. Pennsylvania's required assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.