American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)


Professional Teaching Knowledge & Subject Area Standards

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) Web site

Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK)

ABCTE has developed standards for professional teaching knowledge for beginning teachers based on six key areas.  The standards are organized into these areas with the belief that beginning teachers should be well-versed in a professional body of knowledge that is research based and promotes student achievement.  In addition, beginning teachers should demonstrate comprehensive writing skills necessary to perform the job of an educator.

  • Organizing, Planning and Designing Instruction for Student Success
  • Effective Instructional Strategies
  • Classroom Management and Organization
  • Monitoring Students and Working with Parents
  • Assessment
  • Professional Teaching Knowledge Writing Component

More information on ABCTE’s PTK standards is available online.


Subject Areas

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Subject Area: Biology

ABCTE certifies individuals to teach biology (Grades 6-12) who demonstrate the subject matter knowledge of a highly skilled biology teacher.  The biology content standards are organized on the assumption that highly skilled teachers command a comprehensive body of scientific knowledge.  Domains include:

  • Scientific Investigation
  • Biochemical Basis of Life
  • Cell Biology and Microbiology
  • Classical Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Evolution
  • Comparative Physiology
  • Human Physiology
  • Plant Biology/Physiology
  • Ecology

More information on ABCTE’s biology content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: Chemistry

ABCTE has developed the following subject area standards for what chemistry teachers (Grades 6-12) should know in order to educate students.  The chemistry standards are organized in sixteen key areas with the belief that highly skilled chemistry teachers should possess a comprehensive body of scientific knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • Scientific Investigation
  • General Science Knowledge
  • Atomic Structure and Theory
  • Periodic Table
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Molecular Bonding and Structure
  • Chemical Naming and Formulas
  • Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
  • Kinetics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Solution Chemistry
  • Acids and Bases
  • Gas Laws
  • Thermodynamics and Equilibrium
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Nuclear Chemistry

More information on ABCTE’s chemistry content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: Elementary Education

ABCTE has developed the following subject area standards for what elementary education teachers (Grades K-6) should know in order to educate students.  The elementary education standards are organized in four key areas with the belief that highly skilled teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • Reading and English Language Arts
  • History and Social Science
  • Mathematics
  • Science

More information on ABCTE’s elementary education content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: English Language Arts

ABCTE has developed the following subject area standards for what English language arts teachers (Grades 6-12) should know in order to educate students.  The English language arts standards are organized in three key areas with the belief that highly skilled English Language Arts teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • Comprehension of Texts
  • Oral and Written Language Development
  • Instructional Knowledge and Professional Skills

More information on ABCTE’s English language arts content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: General Science

ABCTE certifies individuals to teach general science (Grades 6-12) who demonstrate the subject matter knowledge of a highly skilled general science teacher.  The general science content standards are organized in five key areas based on the assumption that highly skilled teachers command a comprehensive body of scientific knowledge.  The five areas include:

  • Scientific Investigation
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Physics

More information on the ABCTE general science content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: Mathematics

ABCTE certifies individuals who demonstrate the subject matter knowledge of a highly skilled mathematics teacher for Grades 6-12.  The standards are organized in nine key areas with the belief that highly skilled math teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement:

  • Number Sense
  • Algebra and Functions
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Probability
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Trigonometry
  • Linear Algebra
  • Calculus

More information on ABCTE’s mathematics content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: Physics

ABCTE has developed the following subject area standards for what physics teachers (Grades 6-12) should know in order to educate students.  The physics standards are organized in sixteen key areas with the belief that highly skilled physics teachers should possess a comprehensive body of scientific knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement:

  • Scientific Investigation
  • General Science Knowledge
  • Kinematics and Dynamics
  • Work, Energy, Power, and Momentum
  • Rotational Motion
  • Universal Gravitation
  • Mechanics of Fluids (Liquids and Gases)
  • Thermodynamics
  • Waves
  • Electrostatics
  • Electric Currents
  • Magnetism
  • Ampere’s Law, Faraday’s Law, and Maxwell's Equation
  • Geometric (Ray) Optics
  • Physical (Wave) Optics
  • Modern Physics

More information on ABCTE’s physics content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: Special Education

ABCTE has developed the following subject area standards for what special education teachers (Grades K-12) should know in order to educate students.  The special education standards are organized in four key areas with the belief that highly skilled special education teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • Professional Skills and Background Knowledge
  • Understanding the Special Needs Student
  • General Special Education Practices
  • Language Development Strategies

More information on ABCTE’s special education content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: U.S. History

ABCTE certifies individuals who demonstrate the subject matter knowledge of a highly skilled U.S. history teacher for Grades 6-12.  The U.S. history standards are organized in eight key areas with the belief that highly skilled teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • Discovery and Settlement of The New World
  • The Colonial Era
  • Establishment and Growth of the Republic
  • The Jackson Era of the Civil War
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Post Civil War Period through World War I
  • The Roaring Twenties through World War II
  • Post World War II America

More information on ABCTE’s U.S. History content standards is available online.

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Subject Area: World History

ABCTE certifies individuals who demonstrate the subject matter knowledge of a highly skilled world history teacher for Grades 6-12.  The world history standards are organized in six key areas with the belief that highly skilled teachers should possess a comprehensive body of knowledge that is research-based and promotes student achievement.

  • From Prehistory to Ancient Civilizations
  • Classical Civilizations
  • Postclassical Era
  • Early Modern Times
  • The Long 19th Century
  • The Global 20th Century

More information on ABCTE’s World History content standards is available online.

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Last updated on August 14, 2013