Highly Qualified Teachers

Summary of the 2010-2011 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey Results

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New Jersey’s State Plan for meeting the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) goal was approved by the U. S. Department of Education in 2006. The 2010-2011 New Jersey HQT Survey indicates that New Jersey is continuing to make progress toward ensuring that 100 percent of public school teachers are highly qualified. According to the 2010-2011 survey, only 0.1 percent of New Jersey’s public school classes are not being taught by highly qualified teachers. The overall percentage of classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher in this eighth annual survey decreased from 0.2 percent for 2009-2010 to 0.1 percent for 2010-2011.

The 2010-2011 HQT survey was compiled from the Certificated Staff Report completed in the autumn of 2010. This is a state-wide, school-based data collection system that includes every teacher, his/her certification, class and grade level assignments, and HQT status.

Context

The No Child Left Behind Act requires states to report data to the public annually on the number of classes in the public schools that are taught by highly qualified teachers. In order to be deemed highly qualified, a teacher must have a bachelor’s degree, a standard certificate for which no requirements have been waived, and documentation of content area expertise in each subject taught. States had until 2006 to reach 100 percent compliance with the Highly Qualified Teacher provisions. In 2006, most states had not yet reached that goal. Therefore, in 2006 the federal government required all states to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure they would continue to make progress toward the federal goal of 100 percent compliance. The New Jersey Department of Education’s Highly Qualified Teacher Plan was revised in 2011 to reflect additional strategies being employed to support the goals in No Child Left Behind. The updated plan may be accessed at http://www.nj.gov/education/data/hqt/06/plan.pdf.

Under NCLB, New Jersey’s elementary teachers satisfy the content preparation requirement as generalists because they must demonstrate knowledge across the range of subjects taught in elementary schools. New Jersey’s elementary teachers who have been certified since 1985 have automatically met this requirement by passing the Praxis II Elementary Content Knowledge Test required for state certification. Middle- and secondary-level teachers teaching in a departmentalized setting must 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:

  1. Passing the Praxis II content knowledge exam (This is already part of the licensing process for those with K-12 content area certificates, the new elementary with specialization certificates for grades 5-8, and the new certificates for teachers of students with disabilities.); or
  2. Having an undergraduate major in the content area; or
  3. Having 30 credits equivalent to a major in the content area; or
  4. Having a graduate degree in the content area; or
  5. Having an advanced credential, such as National Board Certification, in the content area.

Veteran teachers had the option of accruing ten points on the New Jersey HOUSE Standard Content Knowledge Matrix to demonstrate their content expertise until it expired on June 30, 2007 for general education teachers and on June 30, 2010 for special education teachers. The HOUSE will expire June 30, 2012 for special education teachers teaching in approved private schools for students with disabilities.

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. In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) flexibility, certified special education teachers who are teaching special education for the first time may have the option of using the HOUSE to become highly qualified in additional content areas, beyond the content area for which they have already satisfied highly qualified requirements. However, to be eligible for flexibility, these novice teachers must meet the requirements delineated in IDEA.

Special education teachers whose only role is to provide support or consultation for students with disabilities who are being instructed by highly qualified teachers 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.

Results by Classes

As shown in Tables 1 and 2 below, the number of elementary classes not being taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased from 0.2 percent in 2009-2010 to 0.1 percent in 2010-2011. At the secondary level the number of classes not being taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased by 0.2 percentage points (0.3 percent for 2009-2010 compared to 0.1 percent for 2010-2011).

The HQT survey data also have 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.

The 2010-2011 data show an overall decrease in the percent of high-poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers with 0.3 percent of classes in high-poverty schools taught by teachers who are not highly qualified. The percentage of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers in low-poverty schools has decreased from 0.1 percent in 2009-2010 to 0.0 percent in 2010-2011. Additionally, from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 the percentage of high-poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers decreased in elementary classes  from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent and decreased in high schools from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent. From 2009-2010 to 2010-2011, the percentage of low-poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers stayed constant in elementary schools and decreased in secondary schools from 0.1 percent to 0.0 percent. Taken together, these data show a narrowing of the gap between high-poverty and low-poverty classes taught by highly qualified teachers.

Table 1: 2010-2011 Federal Report
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2010

 

Classes not taught by highly qualified
teachers (percent)

High-Poverty
( percent)

Low-Poverty
( percent)

All Classrooms

0.1

0.3

0.0

Elementary (K-8)

0.1

0.2

0.1

High School (9-12)

0.1

0.6

0.0

Table 2: 2009-2010 Federal Report
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2009

 

Classes not taught by highly qualified
teachers (percent)

High-Poverty
( percent)

Low-Poverty
( percent)

All Classrooms

0.2

0.5

0.1

Elementary  

0.1

0.3

0.1

High School (9-12)

0.3

0.8

0.1

Results by Teachers

As shown in Table 3 below, 0.1 percent of the teachers are not highly qualified at both the elementary and high school levels.

Table 3: 2010-2011 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught




Type Of School

Percentage Not Highly Qualified

Elementary School (K-8)

0.1

High School (9-12)

0.1

Data in Table 4 below show that, for the grade-level configurations, high-poverty schools continue to have more teachers who are not highly qualified than low-poverty schools. Specifically, in low-poverty elementary schools 0.0 percent of teachers are not highly qualified, while, by contrast, 0.2 percent of teachers in high-poverty elementary schools are not highly qualified. In low-poverty high schools, the percentage of teachers not highly qualified is also 0.0 percent, as contrasted with 0.5 percent in high-poverty high schools.

Table 4: 2010-2011 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage and Numbers of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught

 

Elementary Schools

High Schools

 

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

# of Teachers

Percent Not HQ

All Schools

55,751

0.1

24,710

0.1

High-Poverty Schools

15,280

0.2

5,833

0.5

Low-Poverty Schools

13,081

0.0

6,698

0.0

Classes in Elementary Schools by Subject Areas

Table 5 provides information about classes taught by highly qualified teachers at the elementary level. In summary, 0.1 percent of general education classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers. An examination of the data shows a relatively small variation in the percentages of highly qualified teachers across subject matter areas. For example, in both world languages and ESL classes, 0.1 percent of classes lack a highly qualified teacher and in special education classes 0.3 percent of classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers. In addition, in high-poverty schools, 0.9 percent of special education classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers, as contrasted with general education where 0.2 percent of classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers. In low-poverty schools, the data show that 1.7 percent of ESL classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers, and 0.1 percent of general education classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers. All other classes in low-poverty schools are fully staffed by highly qualified teachers.  Only in special education classes do the data show a substantial disparity of 0.9 percent between high- and low-poverty schools.

Table 5: 2010-2011 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

ESL

All
Classes

All Schools

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.3

0.1

0.1

High-Poverty Schools

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.9

0.0

0.2

Low-Poverty Schools

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.7

0.1

Classes in High Schools by Subject Areas

Data in Table 6 reflect the content area classes not taught by highly qualified teachers at the high school level. For all schools state wide, the percentage of content area classes not taught by highly qualified teachers ranges from 0.0 percent in many content areas to 1.3 percent in special education classes. Overall, in high-poverty high schools, 0.4 percent of core academic classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers, while in low-poverty high schools, 0.0 percent of core academic classes are not taught by highly qualified teachers. These data reveal that the greatest need for more highly qualified teachers is in special education in high-poverty high schools.

Table 6: 2010-2011 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.

ESL

Eng. Basic Skills

Math. Basic Skills

All

All Schools

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

1.3

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

High-Poverty

0.1

0.0

0.2

0.2

0.0

0.4

2.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

Low-Poverty

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Conclusion

In reviewing the data from 2010-2011, it is clear that the greatest challenge facing the state is filling the need for highly qualified special education teachers, especially in high-poverty schools. It is important to note that the federal law imposed new requirements for special education teachers, who must now have specific content expertise in all the core subjects they teach. Both new and veteran special education teachers who have not yet demonstrated their content expertise through the HOUSE Matrix or the federal criteria are now required to use the federal criteria. The New Jersey Department of Education will complete its ninth highly qualified teacher survey in October, 2011. The state will continue to monitor the progress of districts and schools in decreasing the number of teachers who do not satisfy the federal definition of highly qualified. The New Jersey School Report Cards include information about the federal highly qualified teacher requirement. School Report Cards can be accessed at http://education.state.nj.us/rc/nclb08/index.html.