The state should ensure that substitute teachers are appropriately placed and assessed in the classroom. This goal was new in 2017 and was not graded.
Substitute License(s): Illinois offers substitute licenses requiring a bachelor's degree. Teachers with a valid professional educator license, or a license with stipulations, can also be authorized to become a substitute teacher.
Length of Assignment: Substitutes can teach for a maximum of 30 consecutive days in one classroom assignment and no more than 90 days in a school year. Substitutes with a valid teaching license can teach for up to 120 consecutive days in the same assignment. Districts with more than 500,000 inhabitants are exempt from the policy regarding the number of days a substitute can be employed.
Evaluation of Long-Term Substitutes: Illinois has no requirements for the evaluation of any of its substitute teachers.
Limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom.
Illinois should limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom without completing additional requirements or obtaining a long-term substitute license. The maximum number of days should be no more than 10 percent of the length of the school year. Illinois's policy of allowing substitute teachers to teach 30 consecutive days in the same classroom may be detrimental to instructional quality and daily productivity.
Require long-term substitute teachers to be evaluated.
Illinois should maintain standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for licensed teachers for extended periods of time. Illinois can help ensure that substitute teachers are held to high standards and have access to the supports necessary to improve their practice by requiring evaluations— which it may find appropriate to modify from its standard, state-required teacher evaluations— of long-term substitutes.
Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
Research finds that teacher absences negatively affect student achievement and growth. While some of this is attributable to the disruption of regular classroom practices and instruction, it may also be attributable to substitute teacher quality. The gap in instructional quality and daily productivity when a regular teacher is replaced by a substitute teacher is significant. However, absences covered by substitutes licensed by the state are not as detrimental to student achievement as those covered by non-licensed substitutes. Some research hypothesizes that the low-skill level and mobility of substitute teachers may contribute to the reduction in instructional focus and quality and that even when substitute teachers are good instructors, they may be unable to effectively implement a teacher of record's long-term instructional strategies. Parents, teachers, principals, and students have concerns about substitute teachers' quality and qualifications. States should maintain rigorous standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for teachers for long stretches of time.