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: West Virginia requires a middle-level endorsement for middle school teachers. All new middle school teachers are also required to pass a Praxis II single-subject content test to attain licensure.
Academic Requirements: Middle school candidates in West Virginia completing two middle-level programs must complete the minimum of a subject-area minor (15 semester hours) in each subject, which would result in candidates earning two minors. A middle-level endorsement may also be added to another general education specialization such as K-6, an additional 5-9 or 5-adult program. Elementary teacher candidates are not required to earn the equivalent of a major or minor; therefore, this route potentially results in just one minor for the middle-level candidate.
Title 126 Legislative Rules, Board of Education, Series 114, Policy 5100, 6.3.b.2; 6.4.b.5.E and Series 136, Policy 5202, 21.1
Ensure that content tests adequately measure sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
West Virginia should ensure that its subject-matter tests for middle school teacher candidates is 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.
West Virginia 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.