Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
Evidence of effectiveness: The District of Columbia explicitly allows for the consideration of evidence of effectiveness in licensure advancement and renewal; however, evidence of teacher effectiveness is not required.
Advancing to a professional license: The District of Columbia requires that its teachers, to advance from the initial to the standard credential, complete an approved preparation program in the applicable teaching subject area/grade level and pass all basic skills tests. Teachers who do not complete a program in the applicable teaching subject area/grade level may present documentation of an effective or equivalent rating on a summative evaluation for a minimum of two years.
Renewing a professional license: The District of Columbia outlines three options to renew the standard license. Teachers may either: (1) complete 120 clock hours, 8 college credit hours, or a combination of both and professional development; (2) present documentation verifying achievement of a summative evaluation of effective for a minimum of three years during the four-year term of validity; or (3) submit passing scores for the subject content exam required for the credential being renewed.
Standard Teacher Credential https://osse.dc.gov/page/standard-teacher-credential Credential Renewal https://osse.dc.gov/page/credential-renewal
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part
of teacher licensing policy.
The District of Columbia should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers may renew or advance to a higher-level license.
Discontinue license requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
Although targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, the District of Columbia's general, nonspecific coursework requirements for license renewal merely call for teachers to complete a certain amount of seat time. These requirements do not correlate with teacher effectiveness.
The District of Columbia 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.