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: Mississippi's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Advancing to a Professional License: Mississippi offers four certifications that are all valid for five years and are all renewable. The Class A license, which appears most closely to resemble an initial certification, requires a bachelor's degree and passage of applicable Praxis II tests. Teachers may renew the Class A license by completing one of the following: 10 continuing education units in a content or skill-related area, three semester hours in a content or skill-related area and five continuing education units in a content or skill-related area, six semester hours in a content or skill-related area or completion of the NBPTS process. Teachers may advance to the Class AA license by meeting the Class A requirements and earning a master's degree. A Class AAA license requires Class A criteria and a specialist degree, and a Class AAAA license requires Class A criteria and a doctoral degree.
Renewing a Professional License: Mississippi teachers must renew their licenses every five years. Teachers with a Class A license (bachelor's degree level) must complete 10 continuing education units (CEUs), three semester hours and five CEUs and six semester hours, or complete National Board certification. Those with Class AA licenses and above must complete three semester hours or five CEUs.
Mississippi Licensure Guidelines http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/educator-licensure/licensure-guidelines-(k-12).pdf?sfvrsn=0
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Mississippi should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers may renew or advance to a higher-level license.
Discontinue license requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
Although targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Mississippi'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.
End requirement tying teacher advancement to master's degrees.
Mississippi should remove its mandate that teachers obtain a master's degree for license advancement. Research is clear that master's degrees generally do not have any significant correlation with classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Mississippi 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.