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​CSPG 46 - General Science (7-12)

​Instructional Area Code 8450
Modified: June 8, 2023

General Science is the science addressing universal properties and involving the fundamental concepts of life, physical, earth and space, forensic, and environmental sciences.

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a valid Pennsylvania General Science certificate is qualified to teach all general science courses in grades 7 through 12. An educator holding this certificate is also qualified to teach this content in the 6th grade. See CSPG 104 Expansion of Secondary (7-12) Certification to Sixth Grade.

Certification Assignment

An educator holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for general science is qualified to teach introductory courses in: life science, physical science, earth and space science, forensic science, environmental science, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses. (Other Instructional certificates may teach STEM courses based on course content and the type of credit being given.) 

Definitions

  • General Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences related to principles and processes from both biological and physical science in the student's daily life. The general science course shall include topics from life science and physical science or earth and space science, but stand-alone courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, or advanced earth and space science are not permitted. 
  • Life Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences related to the ways living things interact with the world around them, but below the level of difficulty of a biology course.
  • Physical Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences related to physical and/or chemical properties in the student's daily life, but below the level of difficulty of a physics and/or chemistry course.
  • Earth and Space Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences related to the principles and processes from astronomy, climatology, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, mineralogy, and oceanography in the student's daily life, but below the level of difficulty of any specific course in one of these areas.
  • Forensic Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences in the use of scientific practices or expertise to investigate crimes or examine evidence that might be presented in a court of law.
  • Environmental Science – An introductory course comprised of learning experiences in the study of the components of ecological systems and their interrelationship with social systems and technologies. 

Restrictions

An educator holding a General Science certificate is not certified to teach biology, chemistry, physics, or advanced earth and space science. 

Special Considerations:

An educator certified in this field may:

  • provide professional development related to their collegial studies;
  • serve in the role of mentor or advisor;
  • assist students in understanding how to read content area materials.

References

Program Specific Guidelines for Certification.

PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604

22 PA Code: Chapter 4: §4.22, §4.23, §4.31

Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 1973, 3/75, 3/78, 2/82, 1/87, 7/04, 11/13, 3/14.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #46
6/8/2023​
  • Added forensic science, environmental science, and STEM to certification assignment.
  • Updated formatting.
​3/1/2014
  • Added science definitions for Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, General Science.
  • Clarified Restrictions: The holder of a General Science certificate is not qualified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Advanced Earth and Space Science.
  • Clarified Special Considerations.
​6/1/2005​Provided clarification that a General Science certificate may be used to teach introduction to Earth and Space Science, but not advanced Earth and Space Science.
​7/1/2004
  • ​CSPG #33 was divided into specific CSPG’s for 5 science certificate areas: CSPG #32-Biology; CSPG #34-Chemistry; CSPG #40-Earth & Space Science; CSPG # 46- General Science; CSPG #56-Physics
  • Definitions and category clarifications were removed.
​6/1/1992​CSPG #33
Listed definitions for all areas of sciences and corresponding appropriate certifications.
​3/1/1975

​CSPG #33

  • Comprehensive general science courses may be taught by any valid science certificate.
  • Introductory science courses at the junior high grade level may be taught by any valid science certificate, except:
    • To teach Earth & Space Science
      • an Earth & Space Science certificate is needed; or
      • a Geography certificate in the area of physical geography; or
      • a Physical Science certificate.
  • High school science must be taught by the specific science certificate.
  • Planetarium activities – certificate in any area of science.