Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William Pafford

Committee Members

J. Howard Bowers, Charles Burkett, Shirley Morgan


This population study of the certification qualifications of the secondary science teachers of the Upper East Tennessee region in 1984-85 was conducted to determine if there was a qualification shortage in any science-teaching area at the beginning of the Comprehensive Education Reform Act (CERA). Data were obtained from the Tennessee State Department of Education Preliminary Report Forms for Staff. Subject certification data and 1984-85 teaching assignment were analyzed to find percentages of infield, out-of-field teaching and the size of the internal pool of active certificated science teachers who were not teaching. Results of these analyses were presented for each system and compiled for the region. Results indicated that qualification shortages as measured by out-of-field teaching were present in all but one regional system ranging from a low of 12% for chemistry to a high of 91% for earth/space science. General science was 22%; biology was 34%; and physics was 47%. Regionally, there were wide variations of these out-of-field teaching percentages. Comparing the internal pool of teachers certificated to teach in the science areas with the number of out-of-field teachers, in all cases, except earth/space science, there was a surplus of internal pool science teachers within the region and within most of the school systems. Implications of this study for school administrators included: (1) the need for studying their science teaching populations and making any changes possible from their internal pools to alleviate any discovered qualification shortages; (2) the prediction that the pattern documented for Upper East Tennessee will be found statewide perhaps with lower in-field chemistry and higher earth/space science teaching percentages; and (3) that without statewide requirements that all teachers be certificated in all subjects they are teaching, the qualification shortage in science teachers will likely continue. Recommendations of the study include sharing the results with the school systems and others involved, setting up a position to do this on an on-going basis for the whole state, doing a follow-up study to see the effect of the science scholarship part of CERA, and publicizing need areas to prospective teachers.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.