High School Physics Teacher Preparation

Version 1, January 28, 2021



The evidence to support these practices comes from numerous sources. There is an extensive peer-reviewed literature on teacher education both in physics (references 1 and 2) and more generally (reference 3 and 4). The practices in this section also reflect the experiences of the PhysTEC and UTeach programs (see Resources below), both of which have produced significant numbers of well-prepared science teachers. These programs draw on effective practices in future (pre-service) teacher education, the practical experience of faculty who have run successful teacher preparation programs, and, most importantly, the experience and knowledge that comes from replicating teacher preparation programs at other institutions. The PhysTEC and UTeach websites include discussions of their respective components, information on physics teacher shortages in the United States, key elements of successful physics teacher preparation programs, and publications related to physics teacher preparation.

  1. D. Meltzer, M. Plisch, and S. Voko (editors), “Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action. A Report by the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP),” American Physical Society (2012). The Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics subsequently prepared a statement, “Preparing High School Physics Teachers to Build a 21st Century STEM-Capable Workforce.”
  2. S. V. Chasteen, R. E. Scherr, and M. Plisch, “A Study of Thriving Physics Teacher Education Programs: Development of the Physics Teacher Education Program Analysis (PTEPA) Rubric.” American Physical Society (2018).
  3. M. Marder, R. C. Brown, and M. Plisch, “Recruiting Teachers in High-Needs STEM Fields: A Survey of Current Majors and Recent STEM Graduates,” American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) (2017).
  4. L. Darling-Hammond, “Constructing 21st-century teacher education,” Journal of Teacher Education 57(3), 300–314 (2006).


  • Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC): a partnership between APS and AAPT to help universities improve their physics teacher education programs through funding opportunities, conferences, research, information, and a national network of institutions engaged in physics teacher preparation
  • UTeach: a STEM teacher preparation program replicated across U.S. universities, including financial and implementation support, annual conferences, research, information, and a national network of institutions engaged in STEM teacher preparation
  • Get the Facts Out (GFO): An NSF-funded project to disseminate facts about the teaching profession to undergraduate students and faculty in physics, chemistry, and math. GFO supports faculty, advisors, and others in sharing facts about the value of STEM teaching as a profession by providing data; resources such as easily adaptable presentations, posters, and flyers; and opportunities to connect to others engaged in promoting STEM teacher preparation.
  • AIP Statistical Research Center: a group that regularly collects and analyzes data on high school physics teaching and other topics
  • National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program: a program that offers scholarships to recruit STEM students to become K-12 teachers, with the requirement that scholars commit to teaching in high-need school districts after graduation. The program also hosts an annual conference.