The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
Evidence of Effectiveness: New Jersey's requirements for licensure advancement are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. The state's policy regarding license renewal does not address evidence of effectiveness.
Advancing to a Professional License: New Jersey requires that teachers earn ratings on its state evaluation system of effective or higher within two of three consecutive years to advance to a standard certificate.
Renewing a Professional License: New Jersey does not require teachers who have obtained the standard certificate to renew at any point during their career.
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
New Jersey should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers may renew their licenses.
New Jersey recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state reiterated that in order to apply for standard certification, teachers must show that they have two years' worth of effective or highly effective ratings.
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.