Licensure Loopholes: District of Columbia

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Loopholes: District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

The District of Columbia allows the state superintendent to issue a one-year nonrenewable Transitional Teaching Credential to a candidate who has not met all licensure requirements, including subject-matter testing. To qualify, candidates must have a bachelor's degree and have completed either an academic major that qualifies them to teach in the content area or an approved teacher preparation program. In addition, the Transitional Teaching Credential may be awarded to out-of-state candidates who hold a valid teaching license but have not taken the tests required for a Regular II license.


Recommendations for District of Columbia

Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While the District of Columbia's policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its Transitional Teaching Credential for one year only, the District could take its policy a step further and require all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See E. Hanushek, "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," The Journal of Political Economy 100 No. 1 (1992): 84-117. Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class of 20.  "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 16606 (2010).