More People With Higher SAT Scores Are Going Into Teaching

December 08, 2014

By Rebecca Klein

New York state parents and students rejoice: A new study says the academic ability of new teachers in the state has risen substantially in recent years.

The study, published last week in the journal Educational Researcher, looks at the average SAT scores of newly certified and hired teachers in New York state over the past 25 years. In analyzing the data, researchers found that average SAT scores for teachers began rising around 1999 relative to the rest of the population. The researchers caution that SAT scores are an imperfect measure of intelligence, though they contain useful insight.

Around 1999, New York state began to implement a set of policies that made it more difficult for teachers to gain certification. Researchers suggest the rise in teachers' academic ability in the state may be a result of these new accountability policies, which were designed to "recruit, train, and retain the high quality teachers." They also note that the increase in teachers' test scores may signal a concurrent rise in prestige for the teaching profession.