Secondary Teacher Preparation in Science:
Wyoming

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Secondary Teacher Preparation in Science: Wyoming results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WY-Secondary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Science-6

Analysis of Wyoming's policies

Wyoming does not offer an endorsement in general science for secondary teachers. However, it does allow an endorsement in physical science, which combines chemistry and physics. Further, the state does not require subject matter testing for any of its secondary science teachers. 

Middle school science teachers in Wyoming must earn a middle level science endorsement. The state does not articulate requirements for a content major or minor, nor does it require middle school science teachers to pass a subject matter test. 

Citation

Recommendations for Wyoming

Require secondary science teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each science discipline they intend to teach.
Wyoming should require content assessments, for that is the only way to ensure that teachers possess adequate knowledge of the subject area.

Require middle school science teachers to pass a test of content knowledge that ensures sufficient knowledge of science.

State response to our analysis

Wyoming recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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).