Secondary Teacher Preparation: Delaware

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Secondary Teacher Preparation: Delaware results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Delaware's policies

Delaware requires that its secondary teacher candidates pass a Praxis II content test to teach any core secondary subjects. Unfortunately, Delaware permits a significant loophole to this important policy by allowing both general science and general social studies licenses, without requiring subject-matter testing for each subject area within these disciplines (see Goals 1-G and 1-H).

Further, to add an additional field to a secondary license, teachers must also pass a Praxis II content test. However, as stated above, Delaware cannot guarantee content knowledge in each specific subject for those secondary teachers who add general science or general social studies endorsements. 


Recommendations for Delaware

Require subject-matter testing for all secondary teacher candidates.
Delaware wisely requires subject-matter tests for most secondary teachers but should address any loopholes that undermine this policy (see Goals 1-G and 1-H). This applies to the addition of endorsements as well.

State response to our analysis

Delaware recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it does not believe that a "loophole" exists for science certification as currently outlined in state regulation and asserted that a general science exam is not allowed. Candidates must either pass a content-specific exam (e.g., biology, chemistry) or the integrated science exam, which the state requires for educators teaching an integrated science course. The exam, therefore, covers multiple disciplines. Further, Delaware noted that the Department of Education and the Professional Standards Board are currently addressing the application of this regulation by districts.

Last word

As discussed in Goal 1-G, Delaware's integrated science endorsement is similar to what other states often refer to as general science. The concern with the integrated science exam, like other general science tests, is that separate scores are not reported for each science discipline.  

Research rationale

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, Pressely, DeAngelis "Leveling up: Narrowing the teacher academic capital gap in Illinois" Illinois Education Research Council (2008); D. Goldhaber and D. Brewer, "Does teacher certification matter? High School Certification Status and Student Achievement." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 22: 129-145. (2000); and 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).