The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Emergency License(s) Availability: North Dakota offers the Alternative Access License and the Out-of-Field Endorsement. The Alternative Access License is issued in areas where there is a documented shortage of regularly licensed teachers. The applicant must have a bachelor's degree in the content area to be assigned and a plan to complete licensure requirements within three years.
North Dakota now offers an Out-of-Field Endorsement to already licensed teachers to be able to teach out-of-field. This endorsement is not available to teach special education or preK-K.
Emergency License Validity Period: North Dakota's Alternative Access License can be renewed annually, up to three times. Renewal depends on supply and demand of certificated teachers available for these positions and whether the applicant demonstrates completion of one-third of the licensure requirements. Additionally, someone teaching on an initial alternative license may be issued a second alternative access license if they have "attempted the content-specific test three times during the initial alternative access license period. If the applicant has attempted the Praxis II content-specific test an additional two times during the second alternative access license and provides documentation, during the third year following the applicant's receipt of the initial alternative access license the applicant will be issued an initial license..."
The Out-of-Field Endorsement is valid for one year, and may be renewed once, provided the applicable content test is passed during the second year.
COVID-19 State Policy: North Dakota has not implemented any changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. COVID-19 policies do not affect the state's grade in Provisional and Emergency Licensure.
Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Because licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers are scored in Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
All students are entitled to teachers who know the subject matter they are teaching. Permitting individuals who have not yet passed state licensing tests to teach neglects the needs of students, because it enables adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards to earn teaching licenses. North Dakota should ensure that all teachers are required to pass licensing tests — an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession —before entering the classroom as the teacher of record.
Limit exceptions to one year.
Although suboptimal, there may be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses are necessary. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensing tests. North Dakota's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on emergency certificates for three years without passing required subject-matter licensing tests.
North Dakota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.