Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers demonstrate sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content. This goal has been revised since 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 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.
Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure , only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.
Test Requirement www.ets.org/praxis Tennessee State Board of Education Policy 5.105; 5.502
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.
Tennessee indicated that educators who are enrolled in a program with a job-embedded clinical practice may "allow teachers to delay
passage of content tests if they possess a bachelor's degree in a core
content area." According to the state, review of the last three years of
candidates completing preparation programs in Tennessee, showed that
roughly 27% went through a job-embedded program and a smaller percentage
of this group delayed passage of the content assessments by holding a
degree with a major in the 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.