The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
West Virginia offers a secondary endorsement in general social studies. Because there is no corresponding baccalaureate degree in general social studies, the state requires not less than 48 credit hours in the content area. Candidates must pass the Praxis II "Social Studies" content test. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the topical areas.
Middle school social studies teachers in West Virginia must earn a middle level endorsement. Candidates must complete a subject-area minor, and, commendably, they must also pass the Praxis II "Middle School Social Studies" test.
Title 126 Legislative Rules, Board of Education, Series 114, Policy 5100, 6.3.2 Praxis Testing Requirements www.ets.org
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and only require a general knowledge social studies exam—are not ensuring that their secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. West Virginia's required assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many—perhaps all—history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
West Virginia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.