The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
Evidence of effectiveness: Michigan bases some of its requirements for licensure advancement and renewal on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Advancing to a professional license: To earn an initial professional certificate, teachers in Michigan must successfully complete at least three full years of classroom teaching and meet one of the following: rated effective or highly effective for three consecutive years preceding the application, or rated effective or highly effective for three nonconsecutive years with a recommendation from the school's chief administrator. To earn an optional initial advanced professional certificate, teachers must meet the following criteria: earn a rating of highly effective for three of five most recent years, or not be rated ineffective within the five most recent school years. The state also offers a standard certificate, which does not require evidence of effectiveness.
Renewing a professional license: Michigan requires teachers to renew their licenses every five years by completing six semester hours or 150 hours of continuing education units, or a combination of the two. A master's degree is also an option for renewal for both the standard and professional licenses. To renew the advanced professional certificate, teachers must either earn a rating of highly effective for three of five most recent years, or not be rated ineffective within the five most recent school years.
Michigan Administrative Code 390.1333, -.1135 The Revised School Code, Act 451 of 1976, 380.1531j, k
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Michigan should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers may renew or advance to all higher-level licenses.
Discontinue licensure requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
Although some targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Michigan's general, nonspecific coursework requirements for license renewal merely call for teachers to complete a certain amount of seat time. These requirements do not correlate with teacher effectiveness.
End requirement tying licensure renewal to master's degrees.
Michigan should remove its option that teachers obtain a master's degree for license renewal. Research is clear that a master's degree generally does not have any significant correlation with classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Michigan was helpful in providing facts that enhanced 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.