2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that secondary teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
New Hampshire does not ensure that its secondary teachers are adequately prepared to teach grade-level content.
Although New Hampshire requires Praxis II subject-matter testing for its secondary teachers, the state undermines this policy by allowing an exemption for those candidates with a master's degree or higher in the subject area. Further, New Hampshire offers a general social studies license—and does not require subject-matter testing for each subject area within this discipline (see Goal 1-H).
To add an endorsement to a secondary license, teachers in New Hampshire may either pass a Praxis II content test or earn a master's degree or higher.
Administrative Rules for Education, 513.01(c)
Require subject-matter testing for secondary teacher candidates.
As a condition of licensure, New Hampshire should require its secondary teacher candidates to pass a content test in each subject area they plan to teach to ensure that they possess adequate subject-matter knowledge and are prepared to teach grade-level content. While a degree—even an advanced degree—may be generally indicative of background in a particular subject area, only a subject-matter test ensures that teachers know the specific content they will need to teach.
Require subject-matter testing when adding subject-area endorsements.
New Hampshire should require passing scores on subject-specific content tests, regardless of other coursework or degree requirements, for teachers who are licensed in core secondary subjects and wish to add another subject area, or endorsement, to their licenses.
New Hampshire recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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).