Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers:
Indiana

Hiring Policy

Goal

The state should maintain requirements that make teaching licenses held by effective teachers fully portable across state lines, with appropriate safeguards. This goal has been revised since 2017.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2019). Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Indiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/IN-Requirements-for-Out--of--State-Teachers-94

Analysis of Indiana's policies

Eligibility for Standard License: Indiana allows out-of-state teachers to be eligible for its practitioner license with at least three years of full-time teaching experience. For out-of-state teachers prepared via an alternate route in one of seven content areas, including Elementary Generalist, Indiana requires applicants to complete coursework while on a temporary reciprocal permit.

Evidence of Effectiveness: Indiana does not require evidence of effective teaching during previous employment in its reciprocity policy.

Testing Requirement: Indiana allows for the acceptance of out-of-state licensure tests. Applicants must provide documentation of passing licensure test scores, and the out-of-state license must be "full," not temporary, emergency, substitute or other. Indiana requires an applicant to pass a content (subject matter) licensure test in every content area that will appear on the Indiana license issued.

Additional Requirements: Indiana places restrictions on seven licensure content areas (including elementary generalist and exceptional needs) that cannot be transferred from an out-of-state license "if in the way that content area was obtained was through testing alone."  This suggests the state has differing requirements for applicants prepared via alternate routes in another state. Out-of-state applicants in this situation might be eligible for a temporary reciprocal permit while completing Indiana coursework requirements.

Background Checks: Regrettably, Indiana does not explicitly require a full criminal-history background check, complete with a fingerprinting requirement. Therefore, the state cannot ensure that teachers granted certification through reciprocity possess an updated clean record.

Citation

Recommendations for Indiana

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Indiana should reconsider its recency requirement as a means to judge licensure eligibility. Recent coursework is unlikely to positively affect a teacher's effectiveness, and such a requirement may deter experienced, effective teachers from applying for licensure in the state. Indiana should also consider allowing a test-out option for its state-specific coursework requirements.

Require evidence of effective teaching when determining eligibility for full certification.

To facilitate the movement of effective teachers between states, Indiana should require that evidence of teacher effectiveness, as determined by an evaluation that includes objective measures of objective student growth data, be considered for all out-of-state candidates.

Require a criminal-history background check.
As a condition of licensure, Indiana should ensure that all out-of-state candidates pass a complete criminal-history background check. Because of differences in state statutes regarding the scope of teacher criminal background checks, a clear criminal background check from another state would not necessarily indicate that a teacher would pass Indiana's criminal background check.

State response to our analysis

Indiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Updated: December 2019

How we graded

6A: Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers 

  • Evidence of Effectiveness: The state should require evidence of effective teaching, as measured by an evaluation system that includes objective student growth measures, in previous employment from all out-of-state teachers.
  • Criminal Background Check: The state should require all out-of-state teachers to possess a clean criminal record.
  • Content Knowledge: The state should uphold its content-knowledge standards by requiring all out-of-state teachers to pass a content test.
  • Accessibility: The state should:
    • offer a standard license to fully certified, out-of-state teachers without requiring additional coursework based on transcript analyses or certifications that are out of date.
    • accord the same process and set of requirements for out-of-state teachers who completed an approved alternate route program as it accords to out-of-state teachers prepared in traditional preparation programs.
Evidence of Effectiveness
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it  requires evidence of effective teaching, as measured by an evaluation system that includes objective student growth measures, in previous employment from all out-of-state teachers.
Criminal Background Check
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following: 
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires a full criminal background check for all teachers seeking to transfer licenses to teach in its state.
Content Knowledge
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires teachers to pass a content test, either in their originating state, or in the state to which that teacher is moving.
Accessibility
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it does not require any additional obstacles or requirements for all teachers seeking to transfer licenses to teach in its state.

Research rationale

Evidence of effectiveness is far more important than transcript review.[1] In an attempt to ensure that teachers have the appropriate professional and subject-matter knowledge base when granting certification, states often review a teacher's college transcript, no matter how many years earlier a bachelor's degree was earned. A state certification specialist reviews the college transcript, looking for course titles that appear to match state requirements. If the right matches are not found, a teacher may be required to complete additional coursework before receiving standard licensure.[2] This practice holds true even for experienced teachers who are trying to transfer from another state, regardless of their prior success. The application of these often complex state rules results in unnecessary obstacles to hiring talented and experienced teachers.[3] Evaluation systems which prioritize effectiveness and evidence of student learning offer an opportunity to bypass counterproductive efforts like transcript review and get to the heart of the matter: is the out-of-state teacher seeking licensure in a new state an effective teacher?

Testing requirements should be upheld, not waived. While some states have historically imposed burdensome coursework requirements, many have simultaneously failed to impose minimum standards for licensure testing. Instead, some states have offered waivers to veteran teachers transferring from other states, thereby failing to impose minimal standards of professional and subject-matter knowledge. In upholding licensure standards for out-of-state teachers, the state should be flexible in its processes but vigilant in its verification of adequate knowledge. It is all too common for states to develop policies and practices that reverse these priorities, focusing diligently on comparison of transcripts to state documents while demonstrating little oversight of teachers' knowledge. If a state can verify that a teacher has taught successfully and has the required subject-matter and professional knowledge, its only concern should be ensuring that the teacher is familiar with the state's student learning standards.

States licensing out-of-state teachers should not differentiate between experienced teachers prepared in alternate routes and those prepared in traditional programs. It is understandable that states are wary of accepting alternate route teachers from other states, since programs vary widely in quality. However, the same variance in quality can be found in traditional programs.[4] If a teacher comes from another state with a standard license and a clean criminal record, has demonstrated evidence of effectiveness, and can pass the state's licensure tests, whether the preparation was traditional or alternative should be irrelevant.[5]


[1] Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2006). How changes in entry requirements alter the teacher workforce and affect student achievement. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w11844.pdf?new_window=1
[2] See review an investigation into teacher effectiveness and certification processes, see: Kane, T. J., Rockoff, J. E., & Staiger, D. O. (2008). What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City. Economics of Education Review, 27(6), 615-631. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w12155.pdf?new_window=1
[3] Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. In fact, teacher preparation might be able to take a page from their book. By balancing the testing of core functions of teaching that remain the same across states, while also holding instructors responsible for local-specific regulations, reciprocity might be able to be more efficient, while still holding educators to high standards, as the Bar is able to do in the field of law. See: National Conference of Bar Examiners and American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. (2017). Comprehensive guide to Bar admissions requirements 2017. Retrieved from http://www.ncbex.org/pubs/bar-admissions-guide/2017/mobile/index.html
[4] National Council on Teacher Quality. (2014, June). 2014 Teacher Prep Review. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Teacher_Prep_Review_2014_Report
[5] On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see: Constantine, J., Player, D., Silva, T., Hallgren, K., Grider, M., & Deke, J. (2009). An evaluation of teachers trained through different routes to certification. Final Report. NCEE 2009-4043. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094043/pdf/20094043.pdf; For a review of different paths into teaching in North Carolina, see: Henry, G. T., Thompson, C. L., Bastian, K. C., Fortner, C. K., Kershaw, D. C., Purtell, K. M., & Zulli, R. A. (2010). Portal report: Teacher preparation and student test scores in North Carolina. Carolina Institute for Public Policy. Retrieved from http://publicpolicy.web.unc.edu/files/2014/02/Portal_TeachPrep-TestScore_June2010_Final.pdf; For information on Teach for America's alternate certification programming, see: Decker, P. T., Mayer, D. P., & Glazerman, S. (2004). The effects of Teach for America on students: Findings from a national evaluation. University of Wisconsin—Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty.