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: Washington offers middle level (grades 4-9) content area endorsements in humanities, math, and science. Candidates for the middle-level endorsement are required to take subject-specific assessments, which include middle-level humanities, mathematics, and science. However, the humanities test for middle school certification combines both English language arts and reading with social studies, without requiring individual cut scores.
Middle School Licensure Deficiencies: Unfortunately, Washington offers a generalist K-8 license. Because middle school licensure deficiencies are scored in Middle School Licensure Deficiencies, it is not considered as part of the score for the Middle School Content Knowledge goal.
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 http://www.west.nesinc.com/ Washington Administrative Code 181-82- 201
Require content testing in all core areas.
Washington should require single-subject tests for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach as a condition of initial licensure. The state should set its passing scores to reflect high levels of performance to ensure meaningful middle school content tests. Washington should also address any deficiencies that undermine this policy (see Middle School Licensure Deficiencies analysis and recommendations).
Washington state offers an elementary education endorsement. Washington does not offer a general middle grades endorsement. Instead, Washington offers specific content area endorsements, including middle level humanities, middle level math, and middle level science. Washington also offers a number of other content area endorsements matched to both middle level and secondary courses.
Washington was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state noted that it also offers a number of other content area endorsements matched to both middle level and secondary courses.
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.