Licensure Loopholes: Massachusetts

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: Massachusetts results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Massachusetts's policies

Massachusetts allows certified, out-of-state teachers to teach in the state under a one-year, nonrenewable temporary license if they have not failed any part of the applicable licensing tests.

Massachusetts also has a one-year waiver for critical shortage situations in which no fully qualified teacher is available. The waiver is not renewable, and the individuals employed under these waivers must demonstrate that they are making progress toward meeting certification requirements.


Recommendations for Massachusetts

Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While Massachusetts' policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its waiver for one year only, the state 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

Massachusetts 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).