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: Illinois articulates some requirements for teacher licensing that are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Advancing to a Professional License: Illinois has eliminated its initial and standard certificates.
Renewing a Professional License: Illinois teachers are eligible for a professional educator license, which must be renewed every five years by completing 120 hours of professional development. The superintendent may 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.
Illinois Administrative Code Title 23,25.25 and 25.800 105 ILCS 5/21B-20; 21B-45; 21-14(e) Renewal Information https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Educator-Renewal.aspx
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part
of teacher licensing policy.
Although Illinois's new licensure suspension and 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.
Although targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Illinois's 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.
Illinois 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.