Students Need Access to Qualified High School Math Teachers

Low-performing high school students need better access to quality math teachers.

Pursuing a career in teaching math could prove to be a wise choice, as a new study revealed that students struggling with mathematics at the beginning of high school do not have enough access to quality teachers.

According to a study from the University of Maryland, 9th grade students taking lower level math classes are less likely to have access to qualified teachers, which could cause them to fall even further behind their peers in terms of math ability.

"Teachers have been unevenly distributed both within schools, in that students in lower academic tracks have had less well-qualified teachers, and across schools, such that qualifications of teachers tend to be lower in disadvantaged, low-income, and high-minority schools," research assistant Cara Jackson said in the report.

Jackson defined "highly qualified" teachers as those who have at least a bachelor's degree, hold state certification in the grade and subject taught, and have demonstrated knowledge in the subject matter they are instructing.

Despite the fact that disadvantaged or struggling students could benefit greatly from instruction from high-quality teachers, these are the very students that are not receiving the education and resources they need.

It is clear, as a result, that more high school math teachers who have earned a bachelor's degree are needed than ever before to help students who struggle with the subject to be successful.

"Within schools, a student's success to qualified teachers wasn't related to gender or race or socioeconomic status, or whether the student is an English-language learner," Jackson said. "It is related to whether the student is enrolled in special education or a low-level math class."

Because high-performing math students have a 10 percent better chance of being taught by a qualified educator, those pursuing a career in teaching in order to make a difference in the lives of students could certainly do so by focusing their skills on the assistance of struggling or disadvantaged math students.

According to Education News, this is particularly true of low-performing schools that may not have the resources to hire and retain qualified math teachers. After obtaining an education degree, teachers can do a great deal to close the achievement gap by lending their skills and expertise to these students.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit our website at

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