Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
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: Tennessee offers middle grades certification (grades 6-8) for all middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers in Tennessee are required to pass a Praxis II subject-matter content test to attain licensure.
However, the state allows teachers to delay passage of content and pedagogy tests if they possess a bachelor's degree in a core content area.
Academic Requirements: Middle school certification consists of one of the following: an interdisciplinary major that includes study in English, mathematics, science and social studies; an interdisciplinary major in two disciplines from the arts and sciences; or a major in a single discipline from the arts and sciences with an area of emphasis on at least one additional discipline outside the major.
Praxis Test Requirement www.ets.org Tennessee State Board of Education Policy 5.105; 5.502 Appendix A and Policy 5.504 Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-3004(c)(1)
Eliminate the test exemption.
While a degree 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.
Differentiate between single- and multiple-subject middle school teachers.
Tennessee may want to consider requiring only two minors for middle school teachers who intend to teach multiple subjects, rather than two majors or a major and a minor.
Tennessee noted that it will continue to issue the 4-8 generalist license until 9/1/18 for candidates who have already begun a generalist program. The state also provided additional clarification about Tennessee's test exemption policy, which asserts that educators who enroll in a post-baccalaureate program may be recommended for a license if their content knowledge is verified based on a bachelor's degree in the core content area.
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.