Licensure Advancement : Illinois

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


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

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Advancement : Illinois results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Illinois's policies

Illinois is on the right track when it comes to basing licensure advancement and renewal on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
In Illinois, to advance from an Initial Certificate to a Standard Certificate, the state requires four years of teaching on an Initial Certificate as well as the completion of one of the following 10 options: completion of an approved induction and mentoring program; completion of at least four semester hours of graduate level coursework on the assessment of one's own performance in relation to the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards; completion of at least four semester hours of graduate-level coursework addressing requirements for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification; completion of at least 12 semester hours of graduate-level coursework toward an advanced degree; accumulation of 60 continuing professional development units; completion of a performance-based assessment; completion of the requirements for "highly qualified" teacher consideration; earning a post-baccalaureate, education-related certificate; completion of all activities pertaining to NBPTS certification; or earning a subsequent certificate or additional endorsement.

Teachers must renew their licenses every five years by completing approved professional development, including six semester hours of graduate credit or 120 clock hours of professional development aligned with Illinois standards.

Recent legislation allows the superintendent to suspend or revoke a certificate for incompetency, which is now defined as receiving an unsatisfactory rating on a performance evaluation for two or more school terms of service within a period of seven school terms of service. When determining action based on incompetency, the superintendent must consider factors that include the following: the time between the unsatisfactory ratings, the quality of the remediation plans and whether one of the unsatisfactory ratings occurred during the first year of a teaching assignment. 


Recommendations for Illinois

Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Although Illinois' new revocation policy is a step in the right direction, the state should also incorporate performance reviews into its license renewal policy. 

Discontinue license requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
While targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Illinois' general, nonspecific coursework requirements for license advancement and renewal merely call for teachers to complete a certain amount of seat time. These requirements do not correlate with teacher effectiveness.

End license advancement tied to master's degrees.
While an option (not a requirement) for advancement, Illinois should not emphasize obtaining a master's degree as a means of license advancement for teachers. Research is conclusive and emphatic that master's degrees do not have any significant correlation to classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. 

State response to our analysis

Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. However, the analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review. Illinois added that with the passage of S.B. 1799, it will now bring in stakeholders to consider legislative changes to license renewal. 

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:; 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:; 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:; 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:; 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: