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: Texas requires either a generalist (grades 4-8) or a subject-specific (grades 4-8) endorsement for all middle school teachers.
Texas offers single-subject tests for grades 4-8 and allows candidates to pass a middle school generalist exam as well as combination tests (e.g., English language arts and reading/social studies 4-8). The state also requires all generalists to earn a "satisfactory level of performance" in each core subject covered by the examination.
Texas CORE assessments http://cms.texes-ets.org/texes/generalistcore-subjects/ Texas Education Code Subchapter B Sec. 21.0441; 21.048; 21.050 Texas Administrative Code Title 19 Rule 233.2 Educator Preparation Program Guidelines www.thecb.state.tx.us/AAR/EdPrep/default.cfm
Ensure that content tests adequately measure sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Texas should ensure that its subject-matter tests for middle school teacher candidates are sufficiently rigorous. The state should ensure that the required passing scores on each test reflect high levels of performance. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.