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In the 2011–2012 school year, approximately 279,800 teachers in the humanities subjects of English, French, German, Latin, Spanish, and history taught millions of students in the nation’s public high schools. To measure teachers’ level of preparation, the National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES, SASS) examines the fields in which they received their teaching certificates and postsecondary degrees. Having both a degree and certification in a subject does not ensure that a teacher will provide quality instruction, but research suggests that teachers’ credentials have at least some bearing on student outcomes, and they remain central to the public policy debate about teacher quality.

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* 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.
** The Social Science category includes (and treats as credentialed in social science) history teachers who have a postsecondary degree and/or certification in general social science (including social studies) or a constituent discipline. (The collector of these data treats history as a social science discipline rather than as one within the humanities field.) See the "Note on the Credentials of ‘Social Science’ Teachers in Public High Schools” for further explanation of the relationship between the “history” and “social science” categories.

Where there are no bars, the population in that category was too small to achieve a reliable estimate. Some of the estimates should be interpreted with caution, as their standard errors are between 30% and 50% of the estimated values. Please contact cfuqua@amacad.org for details. 



Source: 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), 19 table 2.

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.

Where there are no bars, the population in that category was too small to achieve a reliable estimate. Some of the estimates should be interpreted with caution, as their standard errors are between 30% and 50% of the estimated values. Please contact cfuqua@amacad.org for details. 

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* 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.
** The Social Science category includes (and treats as credentialed in social science) history teachers who have a postsecondary degree and/or certification in general social science (including social studies) or a constituent discipline. (The collector of these data treats history as a social science discipline rather than as one within the humanities field.) See the “Note on the Credentials of ‘Social Science’ Teachers in Public High Schools” for further explanation of the relationship between the “history” and “social science” categories.

Where there are no bars, the population in that category was too small to achieve a reliable estimate. Some of the estimates should be interpreted with caution, as their standard errors are between 30% and 50% of the estimated values. Please contact cfuqua@amacad.org for details.

Source: 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.

 

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.

Where there are no bars, the population in that category was too small to achieve a reliable estimate. Some of the estimates should be interpreted with caution, as their standard errors are between 30% and 50% of the estimated values. Please contact cfuqua@amacad.org for details. 

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* 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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