Licensure Advancement : Alaska

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Advancement : Alaska results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AK-Licensure-Advancement--8

Analysis of Alaska's policies

Alaska's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. 

Teacher certification in Alaska is a three-tiered system consisting of Initial, Professional and Master certification. To advance from the Initial Teacher Certificate (valid for three years and nonrenewable) to the Professional Teacher Certificate (valid for five years and renewable), the state requires that teachers pass a competency examination if they have not yet met this requirement as of the date of the Initial Teacher Certificate as well as a Praxis II content area examination. They must also complete three semester hours in Alaska studies and three semester hours in multicultural education or cross-cultural communications. During the period of the Initial Certificate, teachers must complete an accepted teacher education program. Finally, as determined by each department, teachers must complete any additional academic training deemed "necessary for personal development." To earn the state's optional Master Certificate, teachers must receive National Board certification. 

All teachers initially certified September 1, 2006 and beyond must also complete the Alaska Teacher Performance Review in order to attain Professional certification. The Alaska Teacher Performance Review consists of a 45-minute videotaped lesson along with supporting documentation. The performance reviews are scored by the state office based on set performance standards.

Alaska does not require that teachers demonstrate effectiveness in order to renew a professional license.  The state requires that teachers earn 6 credits from a regionally accredited university for renewal or reinstatement of a regular five-year certificate.  
 

Citation

Recommendations for Alaska

Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Alaska should require evidence of effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers can renew their licenses or advance to a higher-level license. While the requirement to present evidence of classroom performance may be a step in the right direction, the state should consider additional requirements that base professional licensure on evidence of teacher effectiveness as measured by objective evidence of student achievement.

Discontinue licensure requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
Alaska's stipulation regarding academic training deemed necessary for personal development is vague and leaves the door open for requiring unwarranted coursework. While some targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Alaska's coursework requirements do not correlate with teacher effectiveness.

Require teachers to pass content knowledge assessments as a condition of initial licensing, not advanced licensing.
Alaska places students at risk by requiring passage of both basic and subject-area licensure tests to attain professional licensure rather than for an initial license. The state's policy allows teachers who may not be able to pass basic skills or content knowledge tests to teach for three years on an initial license.

State response to our analysis

Alaska recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

For a meta-analysis of the research on the relationship between advanced degrees and teacher effectiveness, see Metin and Stevenson, "The Impact of Teachers' Advanced Degrees on Student Learning" which has been published as an appendix in Arizona's Race to the Top: What Will It Take to Compete? (NCTQ, 2009). 

Studies in the analysis include: Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2004) Teacher sorting, teacher shopping, and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2006) Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11936; Clotfelter, C. T. Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2007) How and why do teacher credentials matter for student achievement? Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1994) Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from high school and beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13, 1-17; Goldhaber, D., & Anthony, E. (2007) Can teacher quality be effectively assessed? National board certification as a signal of effective teaching. Review of Economics and Statistics, 89(1), 134-150; Goldhaber, D. D., & Brewer, D. J. (1997) Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? Assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity. The Journal of Human Resources, 3, 505-523; Goldhaber, D. & Brewer, D. J. (2000) Does teacher certification matter? High school teacher certification status and student achievement. Educational and Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22(2), 129-145; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., O'Brien, D. M., & Rivkin, S. G. (2005) The market for teacher quality. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11154.pdf; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., & Rivkin, S. G. (1998) Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site:http://www.nber.org/papers/w6691.pdf; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2006) Value-added models and the measurement of teacher quality. Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007a) What makes for a good teacher and who can tell? Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007b) Teacher training, teacher quality, and student achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research web site: http://www.caldercenter.org/PDF/1001059_Teacher_Training.pdf; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2008) The effects of NBPTS-certified teachers on student achievement. National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research; Jeptson, C. (2005) Teacher characteristics and student achievement: Evidence from teacher surveys. Journal of Urban Economics, 57,302-319; Monk, D. H. (1994) Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement. Economics of Educational Review, 13, 125-145; Riordan, J. (2006, April) Is there a relationship between No Child Left Behind indicators of teacher quality and the cognitive and social development of early elementary students? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA; Schneider, B. L. (1985) Further evidence of school effects. Journal of Educational Research, 78, 351-356.

For evidence on the lack of correlation between education coursework and teacher effectiveness, see M.B. Allen, "Eight Questions on Teacher Preparation: What Does the Research Say?" Education Commission of the States, (2003) at: http://www.ecs.org/html/educationIssues/teachingquality/tpreport/home/summary.pdf.