Highly Qualified Teachers

Summary of the 2006-07 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 2006-07 New Jersey HQT Survey indicates that New Jersey is continuing to make significant progress toward ensuring that 100 percent of public school teachers are highly qualified. According to the 2006-07 survey, only 1.2 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 fourth survey shows a decrease of 2.9 percentage points from 2005-06 (1.2 percent for 2006-07 compared to 4.1 for 2005-06).

The 2006-2007 HQT survey was compiled from the Certificated Staff Report completed in the autumn of 2006. 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 for each school by the district, which did not include individual teacher information. Another advantage in reporting the information in the Certificated Staff Report is that the survey provides grade-level teaching assignments of teachers. This is especially important in defining elementary and middle-level teachers, a chief component of the NCLB reporting requirements.

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 certification 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. No state has 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% compliance.

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:

  • Passing the Praxis II content-knowledge exam (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.

Until June 30, 2007, veteran teachers had the option of accruing ten points on the New Jersey HOUSE Standard Content Knowledge Matrix to demonstrate their content expertise. 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 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.

Disaggregated by Poverty Level—Results by Classes

The HQT survey data 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 2006-07 data show a significant decrease in the percent of high poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers with only 2.6 percent of classes in high poverty schools taught by teachers who are not highly qualified. In the 2004-05 school year there was a 10 percent gap between the high and low poverty classes taught by teachers who are highly qualified. In 2005-06 the gap narrowed to 7 percent, and in 2006-07 there is only a 1.6 percent gap between high and low poverty classes not taught by highly qualified teachers. Additionally, in 2006-07 the percent of elementary K-8 high-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased 6.8 percentage points to 2.3 percent from 9.1 percent in 2005-06. The number of secondary high-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased to 3.4 percent from 6.4 percent. The percent decrease from 2005-06 to 2006-07 for low-poverty classes not taught by a highly qualified teacher was modest in comparison to the high-poverty classes. These data reflect an incremental narrowing of the gap between high poverty and low poverty classes taught by highly qualified teachers.

The number of elementary classes not being taught by a highly qualified teacher decreased 3.2 percentage points (1.2 percent for 2006-07 compared to 4.4 percent for 2005-06). The decrease at the secondary level is slightly lower at 2.2 percentage points (1.3 percent for 2006-07 compared to 3.5 percent for 2005-06). Please see Tables 1 and 2 for survey results of the 2006-07 and 2005-06 data, respectively.

Table 1: 2006-2007 Federal Report
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2006

 

Classes not taught by highly qualified
teachers (percent)

High-Poverty
( percent)

Low-Poverty
( percent)

All Classrooms

1.2

2.6

1.0

Elementary (K-8)

1.2

2.3

1.1

Secondary (9-12)

1.3

3.4

0.7

Table 2: 2005-2006
Percentage of Classes Not Taught By Highly Qualified Teachers
Data Collected Fall 2006

 

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

Disaggregated by Poverty Level—Results by Teachers

The most recent data reveal only slight variations in the percentage of teachers, disaggregated by grade level, who meet the highly qualified teacher definition (see Table 3 below). At the elementary level where all classes are self-contained (Kindergarten to grade 8), 1.1 percent of the teachers do not meet the definition of highly qualified. At the middle school level, grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 (where all classes are departmentalized), 1.5 percent of the teachers are not highly qualified. At the secondary level, grades 9 through 12 (where all classes are departmentalized), 1.2 percent of the teachers 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, world languages, and mathematics.

Table 3: 2006-07 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught


Type Of School

Percentage Not Highly Qualified

Elementary School (K-8)

1.1

Middle School (6-8)

1.5

High School (9-12)

1.2

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 .9 percent, while it is 2.2 percent in high-poverty schools. At the low-poverty/middle level the percentage of teachers not highly qualified is .9, while it is 4.1 percent in high-poverty schools. At the low-poverty/high school level, the percentage of teachers not highly qualified is .6 percent, whereas it is 3.2 percent in high-poverty high schools.

Table 4: 2006-07 Highly Qualified Teacher Survey
Percentage and Numbers of Teachers Not Highly Qualified
All Subjects Taught

 

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

 

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

# of Teachers

Percent Not
HQ

All Schools

47,939

1.1

16,132

1.5

25,693

1.2

High-Poverty Schools

 

14,395

 

2.2

 

2,652

 

4.1

 

5,552

 

3.2

Low-Poverty Schools

 

10,897

 

0.9

 

4,482

 

0.9

 

7,243

 

0.6

Classes in Elementary Schools

Table 5 provides information about classes taught by highly qualified teachers at the elementary level. Overall, 1.1 percent of general education teachers in self-contained classes do not meet the definition, compared with 1.8 percent in high-poverty schools and 1.4 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, 2.7 percent of all world language classes are not taught by HQT, while 4.2 percent of classes in high-poverty schools and 2.8 percent of classes in low poverty schools are not taught by HQT. In high poverty schools, among self-contained special education classes and special education resource, 5.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, are not taught by HQT. 

Table 5: 2006-07 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

1.1

0.2

0.4

0.5

2.7

2.3

1.5

1.7

1.1

High-Poverty Schools

 

1.8

 

0.2

 

0

 

1.2

 

4.2

 

5.1

 

4.3

 

2.6

 

2.1

Low-Poverty Schools

 

1.4

 

0.5

 

2.2

 

0.8

 

2.8

 

1.0

 

0.5

 

0.7

 

1.2

Classes in Departmentalized Middle Schools

In Table 6, data for departmentalized middle school classes show that the percent of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers varies from zero percent in ESL to 4.8 percent in special education self-contained classes. The percentage of language arts and social studies classes taught by highly qualified teachers is slightly higher than the percentage of mathematics and science classes. High-poverty schools show a higher percentage of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers (3.3 percentage in high poverty and 1 percentage in low poverty middle schools). It is important to note that the federal law imposed new requirements for middle school and special education teachers: they must have specific content expertise in all subjects they teach in a departmentalized setting. Many teachers are currently working to complete the HQT requirements.

Table 6: 2006-07 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

0.6

0.3

0.9

0.8

1.3

1.3

4.8

1.7

0

1.3

2.1

1.4

High-Poverty

0.8

0.5

2.8

2.6

5.1

2.5

6.7

3.3

0

0

0

3.3

Low-Poverty

0.3

0.3

0.5

0.2

1.6

1.2

0

0.8

0

2.2

5.6

1.0

** 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 zero percent in the English basic skills to 7.3 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 middle school levels in Table 6.

Table 7: 2006-07 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

0.5

0.7

0.4

0.6

0.4

1.3

7.3

5.1

0.3

0

1.0

1.3

High-Poverty

1.5

0.8

1.0

1.6

0.5

4.6

12.9

15.9

0.7

0

0

3.4

Low-Poverty

0.3

1.4

0.4

0.5

0.2

0.7

1.8

1.5

0

0

0

0.7

* *Special Education Self-Contained           
* Special Education Resource Replacement

Teacher Demonstration of Content Expertise

The HQT survey collected information on how individual teachers became highly qualified for all schools state wide. The 2006-07 survey data show that 1.3% of teachers do not meet the highly qualified requirements. Among teachers who meet the highly qualified requirements, 48.2% demonstrated their content expertise by passing the Praxis or National Teachers Examination (NTE) and 24.5% by completing the HOUSE matrix. Those teachers holding a content degree or having earned 30 credits in the appropriate content account for 25.8% of highly qualified teachers. Teachers who are National Board Certified account for 0.2% of highly qualified teachers.  (see Table 8)

Table 8: 2006-2007 Federal Report
Teacher Demonstration of Content Expertise
Data Collected Fall 2006

Demonstration of Content Expertise

Number of
Teachers

Percentage of Teachers

Not Highly Qualified          

1,329

1.3

Praxis/NTE

47,987

48.2

HOUSE Matrix

24,462

24.5

30 Credits Content

5,178

5.2

Undergraduate/graduate
Content Degree

20,554

20.6

National Board Certified

153* (NJ: 132)

0.2

Total

99,660

100

The New Jersey Department of Education will complete its fifth HQT survey in October, 2007. 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. In winter 2008, districts will be required to report how they are supporting and monitoring staff who have not met the highly qualified requirements. Additionally, the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 School Report Cards included information about the HQT requirement. The 2005-2006 Report Card can be accessed at the following NJDOE Web site:
http://education.state.nj.us/rc/nclb04/index.html.