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Goal: Improve preparation, recruitment, development, evaluation, and rewarding of effective teachers, principals, and administrators.
Objective: To ensure that teachers have the subject matter expertise needed to best prepare U.S. students for college and careers.
How progress is measured: Public high school teachers with a major in their main assignment area: 2003–04 and 2007-08
Why is this measure important? Effective instruction requires that teachers have both strong pedagogical skills and content knowledge in their main assignment area. Deep knowledge of the subject taught, as represented by a college major in the subject, is a useful indicator of teacher effectiveness and equity, particularly at the high school level. Over the next 8 years, 1.7 million new teachers will be hired, and recruiting, preparing, placing, and retaining teachers with relevant content knowledge, especially in high-need fields, will help ensure that all students are taught by effective teachers in all subjects.
What do the data tell us at the national level? The percentage of public high school teachers with a major in their main assignment in the United States was lower in 2007–08 (81.1 percent) than it was in 2003–04 (83.6 percent).
What are the limitations of the indicator? These data are based upon samples of high school teachers in each state and are subject to sampling error. Because of the limited sample size, apparent differences may not represent statistically significant differences. Main assignment areas do not reflect all the classes for which the teachers provide classroom instruction. This indicator does not provide information about the amount of experience that the teacher may have in providing instruction in the teacher's main assignment area. Also, the indicator does not include professional development related to their main assignment area, or coursework not resulting in a degree that is relevant to their main assignment area.
Documentation for the indicator: The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is a sample survey used to collect data every 4 years on the nation's teachers, principals, schools, and school districts. SASS is designed to provide national estimates for public and private school characteristics and state estimates for school districts, public schools, principals, and teachers. In the SASS survey, teachers report on their educational background and on the classes that they teach. For additional information on SASS, see http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/.
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