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Frequently Asked Questions

about the National Report Card on Physics Teacher Preparation

What is the National Report Card?

The National Report Card (NRC) is a quantitative illustration of the low numbers of high school physics teachers prepared across the United States. At the same time, it highlights universities that are state and national leaders in physics teacher preparation.

The NRC shows:

  • The number of graduates from each physics teacher preparation program
  • The total number of physics teachers prepared annually
  • The estimated need for new physics teachers in each state and nationally
  • Highlights of institutions with active physics teacher preparation programs that are helping to meet the need for new physics teachers in each state
  • A national honor roll that lists the top 50 physics teacher educators in the nation.

There are many resources available through PhysTEC to help build physics teacher preparation programs toward solving the physics teacher shortage.

What is the source of data used by the National Report Card?

National Report Card data come from information collected by the U.S. Department of Education under Title II of the Higher Education Act. These data are publicly accessible on the department’s website.

Read more detail about the Title II data that the NRC uses.

How is the need for high school physics teachers estimated?

High school physics teacher need is estimated by determining the number of physics teachers in each state, then multiplying that by an annual attrition rate of 7% to determine the number of new physics teachers needed in that state.

We also estimated the physics teacher need if all high school students take one physics course in high school. Since only 40% of high school students currently take physics, the new teacher need is calculated by multiplying the original estimate by 100/40.

Read more details about our teacher need estimates.

Why are there different ways to count the numbers of physics teachers prepared, and what are they?

The Title II data include three different ways to count teachers, so we provide the same three methods of counting teachers. It is not appropriate to add numbers in different categories, as it will result in double-counting.

For the sake of consistency, the NRC uses only the “physics-related major” method for most of its analysis, including the calculation of state and national needs being met.

Read more about the different counting methods and how the NRC uses them.

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