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Where are the Teaching Opportunities? A Longitudinal Study of Educator Supply and Demand

by Kelly D. Bradley, Shannon O. Sampson, Lingling Ma & Jessica D. Cunningham - December 05, 2006


For almost three decades, the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) has conducted an annual survey of higher education institutions preparing teachers. The ongoing goal of AAEE is to address the challenges of matching educational institutions and educational staff. Results demonstrate trends in educator supply and demand to assist pre-service teachers, teacher education programs, and policy makers in preparing for future areas of need.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study:

Data regarding educator supply and demand, from the years 1999-2004, was analyzed to present long-term trends in the 64 educator fields. Furthermore, the variation of educator supply and demand—within subject area and by geographic region—was investigated.


A selected response survey instrument is mailed annually to approximately 1,270 college and university directors of career services, or deans of teacher education institutions listed in the Higher Education Directory. For the years being studied, 1999-2004, response rates ranged from 40 to 60 percent.

Research Design:

In a self-administered questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate which education fields were offered at their institution, and then to rate the perceived demand for these education fields on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing a perceived “Considerable surplus” and 5 representing a "Considerable shortage” of educators. Regional studies of employers have consistently validated the data provided by representatives from colleges and universities.

Data Collection and Analysis:

To examine trends in educator supply and demand over the years 1999-2004, survey data collected from the AAEE study was analyzed. Data trends were examined, overall and by region, via descriptive analysis and Scheffe’s multiple comparisons tests under each of the 64 educational fields.


Fields in special education, mathematics education, and physics were perceived to have a Considerable shortage for all six years under review. The overall trend indicates the teacher shortage peaked for most of these fields in 2001, declined toward 2003, and tempered in 2004.


A need exists for increased efforts in educator recruitment and retention to address the persisting field-specific shortages. Results demonstrate that the teacher shortage is not as severe as some literature predicted it would be by 2004. With federal guidelines requiring core subject teachers to be certified and demonstrably competent by the 2005-2006 school year, the shortage may be exacerbated. The trend for 2005 and beyond will likely reflect the effects of No Child Left Behind on the supply of educators.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 05, 2006
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12865, Date Accessed: 8/2/2021 1:12:15 AM

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About the Author
  • Kelly Bradley
    University of Kentucky
    E-mail Author
    KELLY D. BRADLEY is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation at the University of Kentucky where she teaches measurement, methods, and statistics. Her expertise is quantitative methods, with a focus on survey research and Rasch measurement. Her applied research interests focus on teacher quality issues, including supply/demand and professional development. Dr. Bradley has published in NASSP Bulletin, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Organizational Research Methods and World Studies in Education and has co-authored two book chapters, one on multilevel modeling and the other on Rasch modeling. Recent publications include “Gaining Insights into Students’ Conceptualization of Quality Mathematics Instruction in Mathematics Education Research Journal (in press) and “Urban Secondary Educators’ Views of Teacher Recruitment and Retention” in NASSP Bulletin (2005).
  • Shannon Sampson
    University of Kentucky
    SHANNON O. SAMPSON is a visiting professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests are second language acquisition, measurement of student achievement, and applications of Rasch measurement. She serves as a member of the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) research committee and contributes to the annual report. She co-authored the article “A case for using a Rasch model to assess the quality of measurement in survey research,” published in The Respondent (Spring, 2005). She also co-authored a book chapter in Applications of Rasch Measurement in Science (JAM Press, 2006) entitled “Utilizing the Rasch Model in the Construction of Science Assessments: The Process of Measurement, Feedback, Reflection and Change.”
  • Lingling Ma
    University of Kentucky
    LINGLING MA is a doctoral student in Mathematics Education at the University of Kentucky. Her methodological research interests are hierarchical linear modeling and longitudinal data analysis. Her applied research interests are school effectiveness and educational assessments at both national and international levels. Most recently, Ms. Ma has co-authored the book chapter “Using multilevel modeling to investigate school effects” In Multilevel Analysis of Educational Data (in press).
  • Jessica Cunningham
    University of Kentucky
    JESSICA D. CUNNINGHAM is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, specializing in Educational Measurement and Statistics with a research focus on math and science teacher education. She has served as a student member for the American Association for Employment in Education and has contributed to the 2005 and 2006 national reports.
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