Secondary Teacher Preparation in Science

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Secondary Teacher Preparation in Science

The state should ensure that science teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.

Best practices

New Jersey does not offer certification in general science for secondary teachers. Although the state allows a combination physical science certificate, it ensure adequate content knowledge in both chemistry and physics by requiring teacher candidates to pass individual content tests in chemistry, physics and general science. Further, middle school science teachers must pass a science-specific content test. 

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Secondary Teacher Preparation in Science national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Secondary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Science-6
Best practice 1

State

Meets goal 7

States

Nearly meets goal 11

States

Meets goal in part 16

States

Meets a small part of goal 4

States

Does not meet goal 12

States

Do states require secondary science candidates to demonstrate adequate science subject-matter knowledge?

2011
Figure details

Yes. State offers only single-subject science licenses and requires adequate testing.: FL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MN, NH, NY, TN, VA

Yes. State offers a general science or combination license, but it requires candidates to pass a test in each subject they may teach. : NJ

No. State offers a general science or combination licenses and does not require adequate tests.: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, LA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Do states require secondary social studies candidates to demonstrate adequate social studies subject-matter knowledge?

2011
Figure details

Yes. State offers only single-subject social studies licenses and requires adequate testing.: GA, SD, TN

Yes. State offers a general social studies or combination license, but it requires candidates to pass a test in each subject they may teach. : IN

No. State offers a general social studies license and does not require adequate testing.: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Research rationale

For an examination of how science teacher preparation positively impacts student achievement, see Goldhaber, D., & Brewer, D. (2000). Does teacher certification matter? High school certification status and student achievement, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22, 129-145; Monk, D. (1994). Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement, Economics of Education Review, 12(2):125-145; Rothman, A., (1969). Teacher characteristics and student learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 6(4), 340-348.  

See also, NCTQ "The All-Purpose Science Teacher: An Analysis of Loopholes in State Requirements for High School Science Teachers."(2010). 

In addition, research studies have demonstrated the positive impact of teacher content knowledge on student achievement.  For example, see D. Goldhaber, "Everyone's Doing It, But What Does Teacher Testing Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness?" Journal of Human Resources, vol. XLII no.4 (2007).  See also Harris, D., and Sass, T., "Teacher Training, Teacher Quality and Student Achievement". Teacher Quality Research (2007). Evidence can also be found in White, Presely, DeAngelis "Leveling up: Narrowing the teacher academic capital gap in Illinois," Illinois Education Research Council (2008); D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "Why Don't Schools and Teachers Seem to Matter? Assessing the impact of Unobservables on Educational Productivity." Journal of Human Resources (1998).

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