Highly Qualified Teachers

Summary of the 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey Results

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The 2006 New Jersey Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) Survey presents solid evidence that the state is making significant progress toward ensuring that 100 percent of public school teachers are highly qualified. According to the state’s most recent survey, only 4 percent of New Jersey’s public school classes are not being taught by a highly qualified teacher. The overall percent of classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher in this third survey shows a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from 2005 (4.1 percent for 2006 compared to 6.5 percent for 2005). However, the 2006 data shows a significant and dramatic decrease in the percent of high-poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers. Moreover, this decrease has resulted in a dramatic narrowing of the gap between high-poverty and low-poverty classes taught by highly qualified teachers. In 2005, there existed a 10 percentage point gap between high-poverty and low-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher (13.7 percent for high-poverty classes versus 3.7 percent for low-poverty classes). By 2006, the percent of all classrooms in the high-poverty category not taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased to 8.3 percent from 13.7 percent reflecting a 5.4 percentage point decrease. Also in 2006, the percent of elementary K-8, high-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased 6 percentage points to 9.1 percent from 15.1 percent. Moreover, the number of high-poverty secondary classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased to 6.4 percent from 9.2 percent. The percent decrease from 2005 to 2006 for low-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher was modest in comparison to the high-poverty classes. The number of elementary classes not being taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased 1.2 percentage points (from 4.1 percent to 2.9 percent). The decrease at the secondary level is slightly higher at 1.7 percentage points (from 3.3 percent to 1.6 percent). The NCLB Act requires states to report data to the public annually on the number of classes in the public schools that are taught by a highly qualified teacher. In order to be deemed highly qualified, a teacher must have a bachelor’s degree, a standard certification for which no requirements have been waived, and documentation of content area expertise in each subject taught. States have until 2006 to reach 100 percent compliance with the HQT provisions. Please see Table 1 for New Jersey’s 2006 data.

Table 1: 2005-2006 Federal Report
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2005

 

Classes not taught by highly qualified
teachers (percent)

High-Poverty
( percent)

Low-Poverty
( percent)

All Classrooms

4.1

9.3

2.3

Elementary (K-8)

4.4

9.1

2.9

Secondary (9-12)

3.5

6.4

1.6

The 2005-2006 survey was compiled from the Certificated Staff Report completed in the autumn of 2005. This is a statewide, school-based data collection system that includes every teacher, his/her certification, class assignments, and HQT status. This method of collecting information is an improvement over the HQT survey conducted in 2003-2004, because it focuses on individual teacher information by school. The 2003-2004 survey was a summary of HQT status prepared by the district for each school. It did not include individual teacher information. Another advantage in using the information from the Certificated Staff Report is that the survey provides the grade-level teaching assignment of teachers. This is especially important in defining elementary and middle-level teachers, a chief component of the NCLB reporting requirements.

Based on the two different methods of collecting the 2004 and the 2005 teacher and class information, it was difficult to make comparisons over the two years in specific content areas. However, the 2005 and 2006 surveys are aligned and allow comparisons. Please see Table 2 for 2005 data.

Table 2: 2004-2005
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2004

 

Classes not taught by highly qualified
teachers (percent)

High-Poverty
( percent)

Low-Poverty
( percent)

All Classrooms

6.5

13.7

3.7

Elementary (K-8)

7.5

15.1

4.1

Secondary (9-12)

4.8

9.2

3.3

Depending on the grade level taught, there are variations in the 2006 statewide percentage of teachers who meet the highly qualified teacher definition (as found in Table 3 below). At the elementary level where all classes are self-contained (Kindergarten to grade 5), 3.3 percent of the teachers do not meet the definition of highly qualified. At the middle and high school levels where all classes are departmentalized (students have different teachers for different subjects), 4.6 percent of the teachers at the middle school level, grades 6, 7, and 8, and 3.7 percent of the teachers at the secondary level, grades 9 through 12, are not highly qualified. At this time, the greatest challenge facing the state is in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers in the areas of special education, bilingual/English as a Second Language, mathematics, and science.

Table 3: 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught

Type Of School

Percentage Not Highly Qualified

Elementary School (K-5)

3.3

Middle School (6-8)

4.6

High School (9-12)

3.7

Context

Under NCLB, elementary teachers satisfy the content preparation requirement as generalists because they must demonstrate knowledge across the range of subjects taught in elementary schools. Since 1985, New Jersey’s teachers have automatically met this requirement by passing the Praxis II Elementary Content Knowledge test required for state certification. Veteran teachers also have the option of satisfying the requirement by accruing ten points on the New Jersey High Objective Uniform State Evaluation (HOUSE) Standard Content Knowledge Matrix, through which teachers receive credit for college coursework, professional development activities related to their content area, and years of content area teaching experience. Departmentalized middle- and secondary-level teachers must now show content area expertise in each core academic subject they teach in order to meet the NCLB definition. The options for meeting this requirement are as follows:

  • Passing the required content-knowledge exam in the content. This is already part of the licensing process for those with K-12 content area certificates and is now part of the process for the new elementary with specialization certificates for grades 5-8 ; or
  • Having an undergraduate major in the content area; or
  • Having 30 credits equivalent to a major in the content area; or
  • Having a graduate degree in the content area; or
  • Having an advanced credential, such as National Board Certification, in the content area.

Veteran middle and high school teachers also have the option of accruing ten points on the New Jersey HOUSE Standard Content Knowledge Matrix for each core academic subject they teach. Special education teachers who provide direct instruction in core academic content, either as replacement teachers in resource settings or in self-contained classes, must meet the requirements in the same manner as elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Special education teachers whose only role is to provide support or consultation to students with disabilities who are being instructed by HQT satisfy the requirement by having full state certification as a special education teacher. Also, it is important to note that until the adoption of new regulations by the State Board of Education in December 2003, the state’s licensing requirements at both the middle school level and for special education were not aligned to NCLB requirements.

Disaggregating by Poverty Level

The HQT survey was collected for all schools statewide and has been disaggregated by high-poverty and low-poverty schools. High-poverty is defined as the 25 percent of the schools in the state with the largest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch. Low-poverty is defined as the 25 percent of schools in the state with the smallest percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Data in Table 4 (below) show that for all three grade level configurations, low-poverty schools have the greatest percentage of highly qualified teachers. At the low-poverty/elementary level the percentage of teachers that are not highly qualified is 2.2 percent, while it is 6.5 percent in high-poverty schools. At the low-poverty/middle level the percentage of teachers not highly qualified is 3.3, while it is 10.3 percent in high-poverty schools. At the low-poverty/high school level, the percentage of teachers not highly qualified is 1.6 percent, whereas it is 6.7 percent in high-poverty schools.

Table 4: 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage and Numbers of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught

 

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

Secondary Schools

 

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

All Schools

50,514

3.3

20,134

4.6

26,374

3.7

High-Poverty Schools

15,245

6.5

4444

10.3

4517

6.7

Low-Poverty Schools

10,691

2.2

4893

3.3

7734

1.6

Classes in Elementary Schools

Table 5 provides information about classes taught by HQT at the elementary level. Overall, 3.1 percent of general education teachers in self-contained classes do not meet the definition, compared with 5.8 percent in high-poverty schools and 1.9 percent in low-poverty schools. There exists a variation in the percentage of specialty area classes taught by highly qualified teachers. For example, in world languages, 7.4 percent of all world language classes are not taught by HQT, while 11.5 percent of classes in high-poverty schools and 6 percent of classes in low poverty schools are taught by HQT. Among self-contained special education classes and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in high poverty schools, 17.7 percent and 12.4 percent respectively are not taught by HQT, significantly higher than other academic subject classes.

Table 5: 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Classes Not Taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher
Elementary School

Classes

General Ed.

Basic Skills
English

Basic Skills Math

Arts

World Language

Special Education
Self-Contained

Special Education
Resource

ESL

All
Classes

All Schools

3.1

1.9

0.9

2.6

7.4

10.2

3.1

9.0

4.5

High-Poverty Schools

5.8

2.6

1.2

4.2

11.5

17.7

10.0

12.4

8.6

Low-Poverty Schools

1.9

2.5

0.9

2.4

6.0

7.1

1.4

2.1

2.7

Classes in Departmentalized Middle Schools

In Table 6, data for departmentalized middle school classes show that, statewide, the percent of classes not taught by HQT varies from 1.7 percent in the arts to 10.7 percent in special education self-contained classes. The percentage of language arts and social studies classes taught by HQT is slightly higher than the percentage of mathematics and science classes taught by HQT. High-poverty schools show a higher percentage of classes not taught by HQT, with 6.3 percent in social studies, 9.9 percent in mathematics, 12.4 percent in world languages, 23 percent in special education self-contained classes, 16.5 percent in special education resource room replacement, and 15 percent in math basic skills. It is important to note that the federal law imposed new requirements for middle school and special education teachers to have specific content expertise in all subjects taught and that many teachers are currently working to complete the HQT requirements.

Table 6: 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Classes Not Taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher
Middle School

Classes

Lang. Arts

Social Studies

Sci.

Math.

Arts

World. Lang.

Spec. Ed.** S-C

Spec. Ed.*
. R.

ESL

Eng. Basic Skills

Math. Basic Skills

All

All Schools

2.3

2.4

4.1

3.4

1.7

5.6

10.7

6.3

3.9

3.2

6.2

4.3

High-Poverty

6.9

6.3

8.4

9.9

5.4

12.4

23.0

16.5

5.1

9.1

15.0

9.8

Low-Poverty

1.9

2.4

3.1

2.7

1.3

5.1

6.9

4.9

0

0.3

8.4

3.1

** Special Education Self-contained

* Special Education Resource Replacement

Classes in High Schools

Data in Table 7 report the classes not taught by HQT at the high school level. Statewide, the percentage of content area classes not taught by HQT ranges from 1.5 percent in the social studies to 12.1 percent in special education self-contained. Special education teachers in a self-contained setting are responsible for teaching several high school-level subjects. The difficulty of achieving expertise in many content areas is reflected in the data reported. The variation in the data between high-poverty and low-poverty schools is consistent with the variations found with the elementary and middle school levels in Tables 5 and 6.

The New Jersey Department of Education will complete its fourth HQT survey in October 2006. The state will monitor the progress of districts and schools in decreasing the number of teachers who do not satisfy the federal definition. The 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 School Report Cards include information about the HQT requirement. The 2004-2005 Report Card can be accessed at the following NJDOE web-site: http://education.state.nj.us/rc/nclb04/index.html .

Table 7: 2006 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Classes Not Taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher
High School

Classes

Lang. Arts

Social Studies

Sci.

Math.

Arts

World. Lang.

Spec. Ed.** S-C

Spec. Ed.*
R. R.

ESL

Eng. Basic Skills

Math. Basic Skills

All

All Schools

1.7

1.5

2.1

1.6

2.5

2.7

12.1

7.7

4.3

2.5

2.1

3.5

High-Poverty

3.8

1.6

3.6

2.2

8.4

6.6

15.5

15.4

8.4

3.2

0

6.4

Low-Poverty

0.3

0.6

0.9

0.5

1.6

1.4

6.5

4.7

2.9

2.3

3.4

1.6

* *Special Education Self-Contained

* Special Education Resource Replacement