Middle School Teacher Preparation : Wyoming

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Middle School Teacher Preparation : Wyoming results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WY-Middle-School-Teacher-Preparation--6

Analysis of Wyoming's policies

Wyoming requires a middle-level (grades 5-8) endorsement for middle school teachers. However, the state does not explicitly require a major or minor in the subject areas that candidates plan to teach.

Regrettably, only new middle school teachers in Wyoming who have not acquired certification through a traditional route must pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure. In these cases, a general content knowledge test is not an option.

Citation

Recommendations for Wyoming

Strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation.
Although the state is commended for not allowing middle school teachers to teach on a K-8 generalist license, it should strengthen middle school teachers' subject-matter preparation. Wyoming should encourage middle school teachers who plan to teach multiple subjects to earn two minors in two core academic areas. Middle school candidates who intend to teach a single subject should earn a major in that area.

Require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates.
Wyoming should require subject-matter testing for all middle school teacher candidates in every core academic area they intend to teach as a condition of initial licensure. 

State response to our analysis

Wyoming was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The state added that the middle school generalist endorsement is obsolete, and that candidates must complete a preparation program in the specific area in which they intend to seek certification.  

Research rationale

A report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) concludes that a teacher's knowledge of math makes a difference in student achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Foundation for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education (2008).

For additional research on the importance of subject matter knowledge, see Dee and Chodes, "Out-of-Field Teaching and Student Achievement; Evidence from Matched-Pairs Comparisons." Public Finance Review (2008); as B. Chaney, "Student outcomes and the professional preparation of 8th grade teachers," in NSF/NELS 88: Teacher transcript analysis (Rockville, MD: Westat, 1995); H. Wenglinsky, How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2000). For information on the "ceiling effect," see D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "When should we reward degrees for teachers?" in Phi Delta Kappan 80, No. 2 (1998): 134-138.