Teacher qualifications: schooling
What We Have Found
The proportion of new primary and intermediate school teachers with a bachelor level teaching qualification continues to increase.
Date Updated: April 2006
Highest teaching qualification held when first started teaching.
Why This Is Important
Teacher qualifications show an important but complex relationship to student outcomes. The international evidence shows that non-qualified adults working as teachers or teacher aides do not generally have a positive impact on student outcomes, and in some cases have negative impacts. Conversely, highly qualified teachers can have very marked impacts on the outcomes for diverse students, particularly younger students.
Students learn more from teachers with high academic skills than teachers with weak academic skills. The evidence is stronger when higher order student outcomes such as critical thinking and sustained thoughtfulness are included in outcome measures.
How We Are Going
More than 25,000 teachers surveyed in the 2004 Teacher Census teach in primary and intermediate schools. Twenty-eight percent of teachers held a Bachelor of Education degree (including B.Teaching) when they joined the profession, 36% held a Diploma of Teaching (Primary), 35% had other teaching qualifications, while less than 2% had no formal teaching qualification.
Figure 1: Primary and intermediate school teachers' highest teaching qualification held, by number of years in the teaching workforce
Among primary and intermediate school teachers, the proportion that held a B.Ed/B.Teaching when they first started teaching was highest for those who have been in the teaching profession for the least amount of time. Sixty-five percent of those who have been in the teaching profession for less than four years held a B.Ed/B.Teaching when they started teaching, compared with 37% of those who began teaching between four and 14 years ago, and less than 2% for those who have been teaching for 14 or more years.
Eight-five percent of teachers who had been in the teaching profession for less than 14 years (started from 1990 on) had at least a Diploma of Teaching (Primary). A considerable proportion of teachers who started teaching 30 or more years ago had other teaching qualifications, mainly a Trained Teachers Certificate, a qualification that was phased out through the 1970s and 1980s.
Of over 15,000 secondary school teachers surveyed, 10% held a B.Ed/B.Teaching when they started teaching, 49% held a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary), 35% had other teaching qualifications, and 6% had no formal teaching qualification.
Figure 2: Secondary school teachers' highest teaching qualification held, by number of years in the teaching workforce
The proportion of secondary school teachers who held a B.Ed/B.Teaching when they first started teaching was much lower than for primary school teachers, but has increased over time. Fifteen percent of teachers who have been in the teaching profession for less than four years held a B.Ed/B.Teaching when they first started teaching. This compares with 12% of those who began teaching between four and 14 years ago, and 3.1% for those who have been teaching for 14 or more years.
The proportion of teachers who started with at least a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) was also highest for those who have been in the teaching profession for fewer years. A large proportion of those teachers who had other teaching qualifications held a Diploma of Teaching (Primary) which suggests that they may have begun their teaching career at primary level and retrained to secondary education later. The proportion with no teaching qualification has fluctuated over time, but has been consistently higher in the secondary schools than the primary schools.
- Cameron, M. and Baker, R. (2004). Research on Initial Teacher Education in New Zealand: 1993-2004. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Education Research.
- Education Review Office (1999). Pre-employment Training for Teachers. Wellington, Education Review Office.
- Ministry of Education (2005). 2004 Teacher Census. Report on the Findings of the 2004 Teacher Census. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- OECD (2001). Teacher Demand and Supply: Improving Teaching Quality and Addressing Teacher Shortages. Paris, Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Education Committee, OECD.
- U.S. Department of Education (2000). Indicator 2: Teacher Assignment. In Monitoring School Quality: An Indicators Report. Washington D.C., National Center for Education Statistics.