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Teacher qualifications

Question:
Do you have any information on the qualifications of high school teachers in their teaching assignments?

Response:
The report Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School-Level Teachers of Selected Subjects: Evidence from the 201112 Schools and Staffing Survey examines the postsecondary majors and teaching certifications of public high school-level teachers of departmentalized classes. Using data from the 201112 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a sample survey of elementary and secondary schools in the United States, this report examines the percentages of teachers who have a major or certification in their main assignment in a selection of 11 broad subject areas and 9 subfields. The 11 broad subject areas include English, mathematics, science, social science, French, German, Latin, Spanish, art/arts and crafts, music, and dance/drama or theater. Subfields of science include biology/life science and physical science (chemistry, earth science, and physics). Subfields of social science include economics, geography, government/civics, and history.

Of 11 broad subject fields analyzed in this report, the four most frequently reported main assignments in 201112 were English (152,400 teachers), mathematics (144,800), science (126,300), and social science (120,800). Among the broad subject areas, more than half of teachers instructed all of their classes in their main assignment fields, except for German and dance/drama or theater.

In 201112, more than half of teachers of the 11 broad subject fields held both a postsecondary degree and a teaching certification in their respective main assignments, except for Latin and dance/drama or theater. For example, 69 percent of English teachers, 61 percent of mathematics teachers, 72 percent of science teachers, and 68 percent of social science teachers held both a postsecondary degree and a teaching certification.

In the four subjects of English, mathematics, science, and social science, more than half of teachers who instructed all of their classes in their main assignments held both a postsecondary degree and certification in their respective main assignments. Specifically, of those who taught all classes in their main assignment, 71 percent of English teachers, 64 percent of mathematics teachers, 74 percent of science teachers, and 71 percent of social science teachers held both qualifications.

More high school-level teachers reported a main assignment in the subject areas of English, mathematics, and science in 201112 than in 200304. However, the percentages of teachers in 201112 with both an in-field major and in-field certification did not differ significantly from the percentage in 200304.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School-Level Teachers of Selected Subjects: Evidence From the 201112 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2015-814).

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