To Teach or Not to Teach? Teaching Experience and Preparation Among 1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients 10 Years After College

National Center for Education Statistics
July 2007

This study uses nationally-representative survey data to examine factors responsible for movement in and out of the k-12 teaching profession (in public and private schools). The survey tracked for a decade a random sample of individuals (with various majors) who received their bachelor's degrees in 1992-93. Of that graduating class, 11 percent were teaching ten years later and 9 percent had taught at some point but had left the profession by 2003. Almost 20 percent of those who left did so to raise their families. Eighteen percent left for jobs outside of education, and 15 percent exited for other jobs in education. Approximately 13 percent exited because of low pay. The report also breaks these data down by demographics. Some of the data are revealing and important. For example, 45 percent of teachers with degrees in science, math, or engineering left for jobs outside of education while those with degrees in the arts and humanities or social studies were less than half as likely to exit the field. Or this: among the 11 percent of 1992-93 degree recipients still teaching in 2003, 93 percent said they were satisfied with their jobs, and 67 percent expected to finish their careers as teachers. Students scoring in the bottom quartile on college entrance exams were more likely to become teachers than those in the highest quartile. But students with higher GPAs were also more likely to become teachers than those with low GPAs. Seems paradoxical, no? Might education degree programs, which produced a larger share of teachers than any other major, be inflating their students' grades? Read this report here.

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