Licensure Reciprocity: Colorado

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Colorado results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CO-Licensure-Reciprocity-7

Analysis of Colorado's policies

Colorado does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.

Regrettably, Colorado grants waivers for its licensing tests to out-of-state teachers who have three years of teaching experience.

Teachers with valid, comparable out-of-state certificates are eligible for Colorado's professional license, if "the standards for the issuance of such license or certificate meet or exceed the standards of the state board of education for the issuance of a professional teacher license."

Transcripts are required for all applicants; however, it is not clear whether the state analyzes these transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

Colorado is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.

Citation

Recommendations for Colorado

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Colorado takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has three years of teaching experience. The state should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. The negative impact on student learning stemming from a teacher's inadequate subject-matter knowledge is not mitigated by a teacher's having experience.

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Colorado should consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Colorado. Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment.

State response to our analysis

Colorado asserted that all out-of-state applicants receive the same treatment for reciprocity, regardless of the method of training. The state added that teachers with no experience must demonstrate content knowledge, and this is easily completed through a transcript review or the appropriate content test.

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at:
http://www.ncbex.org/ .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).