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Title II, the Main Source of Data

for the National Report Card on Physics Teacher Preparation

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

The US Department of Education collects data annually on teacher preparation programs under Title II of the Higher Education Act. Each year, programs self-report data on their graduates, and the Department combines this information with the results of each state's teaching certification exams. This is all combined into large Excel files and is publicly available on the Title II website.

Three ways to count

The Title II dataset includes three main methods for counting the number of teachers prepared: teachers counted by their academic major ("major"), by the subject of their institution’s teacher preparation program ("subject"), and by their area of state certification ("area"). Teachers counted by major and subject are reported to Title II by each institution of higher education (IHE; typically, this includes accredited colleges and universities). The states then report the certification areas for teachers who have passed their state certifications to Title II. For programs that are not based at IHEs (referred to as "non-IHE programs"), their data for all three counting methods will also be reported to Title II, though depending on how their state collects data, the non-IHE program may report the data for "major" and "subject" counts to Title II, or the state may collect that data from the non-IHE program and enter it into Title II themselves.

Read more about the three counting methods and how the National Report Card uses them.


There are several implications that accompany the different, overlapping counting methods.

Teachers counted by their academic major either earned that degree at the same time as or before their teacher preparation program. In both cases, the degree may not have been awarded by the same institution that offered the teacher preparation program.

Teachers counted by the subject of their program have met the criteria established by the state to qualify for licensure in that subject. These criteria are different in each state.

The results of these two counting methods are reported to Title II by individual programs and/or by the states. Respondents must select different majors and subjects for each individual from drop-down menus in the Title II reporting system with limited numbers of options.

Teachers counted by area of certification have earned a certification with a specific title which is then reported to Title II by the state. Teachers counted this way do not necessarily have a degree closely related to their certification title, making it difficult to assume they are highly qualified. Additionally, some states do not offer a specific certification for physics, or they will certify teachers using broader categories (e.g., "physical sciences" or "science").

Filtering the data

All data presented on this website are from the three most recent academic years for which Title II data are available. However, there are a couple of caveats for how we calculate the average number of teachers prepared each year. First, we recognize that some program and institution names have changed in recent years, and we have tried to collate Title II data as appropriate to generate more accurate three-year averages of the number of new physics teachers prepared. In addition, if a program becomes inactive at some point during the three years of most recent data, the program is not included at all.

Second, programs and states are instructed by the Title II office to not report data in categories when there are no new teachers prepared (e.g., if a program has zero new teachers prepared with a physics major, that program should not enter a value under the physics option when reporting counts by major). Some programs do report "0" in these cases, but most do leave that item blank. To be consistent with Title II reporting instructions, we regard all non-responses as "0" (zero).

To identify physics-specific categories for all three counting methods, we used all of the categories that explicitly mentioned "physics," resulting in the following lists:

  • Majors: "Physics", "Teacher Education - Physics", and "Astronomy and Astrophysics"
  • Subjects: "Teacher Education - Physics"
  • Areas: Because the "area" reporting method does not have pre-populated choices and every state reports different names for areas, we filtered out all certification titles that did not include the word "physics." If a range of grades was also specified in the certification title (e.g., "Physics 5-12"), we did not include those that only extended up to grade 8, assuming high schools generally include grades 9-12. This was to keep everything as consistent as possible.

Note that the "Majors" method does not count minors. A nationwide survey by the American Institute for Physics found that for every 100 physics teachers with a major in physics or physics education, another 28 had a minor in one of those subjects; an upcoming report from AIP with 2019 survey data found a similar ratio. Since the PhysTEC definition for a qualified physics teacher is that they have at least a physics-related minor, we factor this ratio into our analysis at the state- and national-level by multiplying the number of new teachers with a physics-related major by 1.28 in order to provide a more reasonable estimate for the number of newly qualified teachers per year.

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