Licensure Advancement : North Carolina

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Advancement : North Carolina results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of North Carolina's policies

North Carolina's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. 

In North Carolina, to advance from the initial (Standard Professional 1) license to the continuing (Standard Professional 2) license, teachers are required to participate in a three-year induction period, which includes mentor support and evaluations and to develop individual growth plans that contain goals, strategies and assessment of professional skills. It also appears that North Carolina now requires teachers to pass Praxis II content tests as a condition of advancing to the Standard Professional 2 license; not as a condition of initial licensure.  

Effective 2010-2011, beginning teachers must be rated "proficient" on all five North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards on their annual evaluations in order to be eligible for the Standard Professional 2 License. Student learning is included in the evaluation.

North Carolina does not include evidence of effectiveness as a factor in the renewal of a professional license.  North Carolina teachers must renew their licenses every five years by completing 10 semester hours or 15 units of renewal credit. Coursework must be directly related to an individual's professional responsibilities as a public school educator or to his or her area(s) of professional educator's licensure. Teachers of grades K-12 must complete three renewal credits in their academic subject areas, including strategies to teach those subjects, during each five-year renewal cycle effective July 1, 2009.


Recommendations for North Carolina

Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
North Carolina should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers can renew their licenses or advance to a higher-level license. North Carolina's requirement of a proficient evaluation experience does not accomplish this purpose, since the state's requirements do not ensure that classroom effectiveness is considered sufficiently in teachers' evaluations (see Goal 3-B).

Require teachers to pass content knowledge assessments as a condition of initial licensing, not advanced licensing.
North Carolina places students at risk by requiring passage of basic and subject-area licensure tests to attain advanced professional licensure rather than for an initial license. The state's policy will allow teachers who may not be able to pass the tests to teach for three years on an initial license.

Discontinue license renewal requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
While targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, North Carolina'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.

State response to our analysis

North Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that as it pursues teacher effectiveness policies, it will consider the possible link between licensure renewal and teacher effectiveness. North Carolina also noted that its General Assembly recently reduced the number of credits required for licensure renewal to five semester hours, or 7.5 units of renewal credit.

Research rationale

For a meta-analysis of the research on the relationship between advanced degrees and teacher effectiveness, see Metin and Stevenson, "The Impact of Teachers' Advanced Degrees on Student Learning" which has been published as an appendix in Arizona's Race to the Top: What Will It Take to Compete? (NCTQ, 2009). 

Studies in the analysis include: Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2004) Teacher sorting, teacher shopping, and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2006) Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site:; Clotfelter, C. T. Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2007) How and why do teacher credentials matter for student achievement? Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1994) Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from high school and beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13, 1-17; Goldhaber, D., & Anthony, E. (2007) Can teacher quality be effectively assessed? National board certification as a signal of effective teaching. Review of Economics and Statistics, 89(1), 134-150; Goldhaber, D. D., & Brewer, D. J. (1997) Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? Assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity. The Journal of Human Resources, 3, 505-523; Goldhaber, D. & Brewer, D. J. (2000) Does teacher certification matter? High school teacher certification status and student achievement. Educational and Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22(2), 129-145; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., O'Brien, D. M., & Rivkin, S. G. (2005) The market for teacher quality. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site:; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., & Rivkin, S. G. (1998) Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site:; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2006) Value-added models and the measurement of teacher quality. Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007a) What makes for a good teacher and who can tell? Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007b) Teacher training, teacher quality, and student achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research web site:; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2008) The effects of NBPTS-certified teachers on student achievement. National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research; Jeptson, C. (2005) Teacher characteristics and student achievement: Evidence from teacher surveys. Journal of Urban Economics, 57,302-319; Monk, D. H. (1994) Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement. Economics of Educational Review, 13, 125-145; Riordan, J. (2006, April) Is there a relationship between No Child Left Behind indicators of teacher quality and the cognitive and social development of early elementary students? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA; Schneider, B. L. (1985) Further evidence of school effects. Journal of Educational Research, 78, 351-356.

For evidence on the lack of correlation between education coursework and teacher effectiveness, see M.B. Allen, "Eight Questions on Teacher Preparation: What Does the Research Say?" Education Commission of the States, (2003) at: