The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Evidence of effectiveness: North Carolina's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness because the state does not require that evidence of student growth be considered in a teacher's evaluation score.
Advancing to a professional license: North Carolina requires three years of experience to advance to the professional license.
Renewing a professional license: North Carolina teachers must renew their licenses every five years by completing eight continuing education credits, with at least three credits required in the teacher's academic subject area. For elementary and middle school teachers, at least three of the continuing education credits must also be in literacy. Teachers must also be rated at least proficient on the most recent annual evaluation to maintain current license status.
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 may renew or advance to a higher-level license.
Discontinue license renewal requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
Although 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.
North Carolina asserted that while it is accurate that it does not require effectiveness data for a teacher to advance from probationary to nonprobationary license status, the state does have a robust system to measure teacher effectiveness. Its position is that teachers who demonstrate competency, as measured by state licensure exams, are eligible to hold a North Carolina teaching license. If teachers fail to meet effectiveness standards, then the employing unit must address those issues through professional development, coaching, and/or dismissal.
North Carolina also pointed out that it requires teachers to earn continuing education credits in digital teaching and learning as part of the renewal process. If a teacher does not maintain his or her current license status due to performance issues, the employing agency may prescribe continuing education that specifically addresses the teacher's deficiencies.
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.