Figure

I-21c: Percentage of Public High School Students in Classes Taught by an Instructor with a Postsecondary Degree in That Subject, for Selected Subjects, 1988–2012

* The Natural Science category aggregates teachers of general science and specific science disciplines (e.g., chemistry). Such teachers are considered to hold a credential in the subject they teach if the degree or certification is in general science or a specific science discipline.
** Data not collected for this subject in 1988.
! Interpret data with caution. The standard error for each of the estimates for this subject is between 30% and 50% of the estimated value.

Source: For years 1988–2000: Marilyn M. Seastrom et al., Qualifications of the Public School Teacher Workforce: Prevalence of Out-of-Field Teaching 1987–88 to 1999–2000, Statistical Analysis Report NCES 2002-603 Revised (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2002), 62 table B-9. For 2004: Beth A. Morton et al., Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School–Level Teachers of Core Subjects: Evidence from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey, Statistical Analysis Report NCES 2008-338 (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2008), 27 table 5. For 2008: Jason G. Hill, Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School–Level Teachers of Core Subjects: Evidence from the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey, Statistical Analysis Report NCES 2011-317 (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2011), 20 table 5. For 2012: Jason Hill and Chelsea Stearns, Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School–Level Teachers of Selected Subjects: Evidence from the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2015), 29 table 7.

In 2003–2004, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) changed the method by which it collects teacher certification data: “In an effort to improve the reliability of the items, separate questions were used to ask about main teaching assignment and certification. Respondents were first asked to identify the subject code for their main assignment and then, in a later section of the survey, to identify subject codes for all subjects covered by the certification(s) they held. A determination of whether or not teachers were certified in their main assignment is up to the analyst; the analyst is able to match the course taught with certification areas, rather than rely on teacher self-reports.” (Beth A. Morton et al., Education and Certification Qualifications of Departmentalized Public High School–Level Teachers of Core Subjects: Evidence from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey, Statistical Analysis Report NCES 2008-338 [Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2008], 57–58.) Due to the resulting noncomparability of these and subsequently collected certification data with the information collected in previous years, the trend analysis presented here focuses solely on teachers’ educational backgrounds. Please see the “Note on the Credentials of ‘Social Science’ Teachers in Public High Schools” for an explanation of the relationship between the history and social science categories included in the graph.

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