Secondary Teacher Preparation: New York

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: New York results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of New York's policies

New York requires that its secondary teacher candidates pass a content test to teach any core secondary subjects. Unfortunately, New York permits a significant loophole to this important policy by allowing a general social studies license, without requiring subject-matter testing for each subject area within the discipline (see Goal 1-H).

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


Recommendations for New York

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

State response to our analysis

New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it does require specific study for secondary social studies teacher certification. Specifically, candidates must earn a major that includes study in economics, government and at least a total of 21 semester hours of study in the history and geography of the United States and the world.

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).