Teachers are considered the most influential factor in student learning outcomes (Burroughs et al., 2019; Luft et al., 2015, 2020). Their influence in the modern science classroom affects academic opportunities and the overall scientific literacy of our future society. Nonetheless, high school science teacher shortages exist across the United States, and low standards are the norm for new teachers entering the field. Compounding the problem is the presumption by most states that obtaining the expertise to teach one discipline in science qualifies a teacher to teach any area of science (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2010). Although No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires teachers to be highly qualified, the definition of this term includes only state certification and strong content knowledge of each subject taught. Clarifying these requirements is left to each state's interpretation of the mastery of subject matter, resulting in various measurement methods for teacher preparedness (Sheppard et al., 2020) and, subsequently, certification. So, how important is discipline-specific science knowledge for teachers? What role does subject matter expertise play in science teacher certification?

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