2017 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Evidence of Effectiveness: Connecticut's requirements for licensure advancement and
renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Advancing to a Professional License: Connecticut's three-tier continuum for teacher certifications includes the Initial Educator Certificate, Provisional Educator Certificate and Professional Educator Certificate. To advance to the second tier, the Provisional Certificate (which is valid for eight years), teachers are required to complete 10 months of successful appropriate experience and the teacher induction/mentoring program, or 30 months of experience within 10 years in an approved system. To advance to the third tier, the Professional Certificate, teachers must have a letter from their local superintendent demonstrating a "record of competency," which is defined as completing "at least three school years of satisfactory teaching." Teachers advancing from a provisional to a professional educator license must obtain a master's degree.
Renewing a Professional License: Connecticut requires teachers to apply for renewal every five years. However, there are no requirements for renewal.
Maintaining Connecticut Educator Certification http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/cert/maintaining1109aw.pdf Master's Degree Requirement http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/cert/certalert_nov2016.pdf Connecticut General Statute 10-144o, 10-145b, and 10-148a
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part
of teacher licensing policy.
Connecticut's current policy—if teaching experience is not successful, it does not count toward the months of experience needed to move to the next level of certification—only indirectly links effectiveness to licensure advancement. Connecticut should strengthen its policy and instead directly link this requirement to teacher evaluations as a factor in determining whether teachers advance to the next licensure level. The state's policy is further compromised by the issuance of professional educator licenses with no requirements for renewal.
End teacher advancement tied to master's degrees.
Connecticut should revise its policy for advancement to its professional certification by removing the requirement that teachers must obtain a master's degree. Research is clear that master's degrees generally do not have any significant correlation with classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Connecticut recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
9A: Licensure Advancement
The reason for probationary licensure should be to determine teacher effectiveness. Most states grant new teachers a probationary license that must later be converted to an advanced or professional license. A probationary period is sound policy as it provides an opportunity to determine whether individuals merit professional licensure. However, very few states require any determination of teacher performance or effectiveness in deciding whether a teacher will advance from the probationary license. Instead, states generally require probationary teachers to fulfill a set of requirements to receive advanced certification. Therefore, ending the probationary period is based on whether a checklist has been completed rather than on teacher performance and effectiveness.
Most state requirements for achieving professional certification have not been shown to affect teacher effectiveness. Unfortunately, not only do most states fail to connect advanced certification to actual evidence of teacher effectiveness, but also the requirements teachers must most often meet are not even related to teacher effectiveness. The most common requirement for professional licensure is completion of additional coursework, often resulting in a master's degree. Requiring teachers to obtain additional training in their teaching area would be meaningful; however, the requirements are usually vague, allowing the teacher to fulfill coursework requirements from long menus that include areas having no connection or use to the teacher in the classroom. The research evidence on requiring a master's degree is quite conclusive: with rare exceptions, these degrees have not been shown to make teachers more effective. This is likely due in no small part to the fact that teachers may not attain master's degrees in their subject areas.
In addition to their dubious value, these requirements may also serve as a disincentive to teacher retention. Talented probationary teachers may be unwilling to invest time and resources in more education coursework. Further, they may well pursue advanced degrees that facilitate leaving teaching.