The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states for effective teachers, with appropriate safeguards.
Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates are eligible for New Jersey's standard license. However, the state does not require evidence of effective teaching during previous employment in its reciprocity policy.
New Jersey allows a waiver for its subject-matter test if the out-of-state teacher possesses an equivalent certificate and endorsement and was required to pass a subject-matter test in that previous state.
Those who have not taught successfully for three years under their out-of-state certificate must meet New Jersey's minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. Successful teaching experience is documented by a letter from the applicant's supervisor or district representative.
New Jersey is currently considering proposed changes to its reciprocity policy that would require evidence of effective teaching in two of three years within the last four to earn a standard certificate. Out-of-state candidates who cannot demonstrate effective teaching must pass a performance assessment, either from New Jersey or the home state.
New Jersey is a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which outlines which other states' certificates will be accepted by the receiving state. This agreement is not a collection of two-way reciprocal acceptances, nor is it a guarantee that all certificates will be accepted by the receiving state, and it is therefore not included in this analysis.
New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:9B-8.9 http://www.state.nj.us/education/educators/license/UpdatedCertChanges.pdf
Require evidence of effective teaching when determining eligibility for full certification.
To facilitate the movement of effective teachers between states, New Jersey should require that evidence of teacher effectiveness, as determined by an evaluation that includes objective measures of student growth, be considered for all out-of-state candidates. Such evidence should indeed be a factor for candidates who come from states that make student growth an important factor of a teacher evaluation, especially in a state such as New Jersey, which requires evidence of student growth to be a significant criterion of its teacher evaluations (see "Evaluation of Effectiveness" analysis and recommendations).
To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
New Jersey should insist that out-of-state teachers meet its own testing requirements, and it should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. This is especially important when it comes to out-of-state teachers who have passed content tests that do not rise to the level of New Jersey's standard, such as an elementary content test that requires a passing score on each content core subject (see "Elementary Teacher Preparation" analysis and recommendations).
Reconsider policy that allows a minimum GPA to mitigate unsuccessful teaching experience.
New Jersey's requirement that teachers from other states must have successful teaching experience is sound policy. However, the reasoning behind allowing out-of-state candidates who fail this criterion to earn a standard license if they meet a minimum grade point average is unclear. While academic background is important, a GPA is not indicative of a teacher's ability in the classroom and should therefore not be substituted as such.
New Jersey was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
Evidence of effectiveness is far more important than transcript review.
In an attempt to ensure that teachers have the appropriate professional and subject-matter knowledge base when granting certification, states often review a teacher's college transcript, no matter how many years earlier a bachelor's degree was earned. A state certification specialist reviews the college transcript, looking for course titles that appear to match state requirements. If the right matches are not found, a teacher may be required to complete additional coursework before receiving standard licensure. This practice holds true even for experienced teachers who are trying to transfer from another state, regardless of experience or success level. The application of these often complex state rules results in unnecessary obstacles to hiring talented and experienced teachers. Little evidence indicates that reviewing a person's undergraduate coursework improves the quality of the teaching force or ensures that teachers have adequate knowledge.
New evaluation systems coming on line across the country which prioritize effectiveness and evidence of student learning offer an opportunity to bypass counterproductive efforts like transcript review and get to the heart of the matter: is the out of state teacher seeking licensure in a new state an effective teacher?
Testing requirements should be upheld, not waived.
While many states impose burdensome coursework requirements, they often fail to impose minimum standards on licensure tests. Instead, they offer waivers to veteran teachers transferring from other states, thereby failing to impose minimal standards of professional and subject-matter knowledge. In upholding licensure standards for out-of-state teachers, the state should be flexible in its processes but vigilant in its verification of adequate knowledge. Too many states have policies and practices that reverse these priorities, focusing diligently on comparison of transcripts to state documents while demonstrating little oversight of teachers' knowledge. If a state can verify that a teacher has taught successfully and has the required subject-matter and professional knowledge, its only concern should be ensuring that the teacher is familiar with the state's student learning standards.
States licensing out-of-state teachers should not differentiate between experienced teachers prepared in alternate routes and those prepared in traditional programs.
It is understandable that states are wary of accepting alternate route teachers from other states, since programs vary widely in quality. However, the same wide variety in quality can be found in traditional programs. If a teacher comes from another state with a standard license and can pass the state's licensure tests, whether the preparation was traditional or alternative should be irrelevant.
Licensure Reciprocity: Supporting Research
Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2014, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at https://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf.
On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, J. Deke, and E. Warner, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. February 2009, U.S. Department of Education, NCEE 2009-4043. D. Boyd, P. Grossman, H. Lankford, S. Loeb, and J. Wyckoff, "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." NBER Working Paper No. 11844, December 2005. T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." NBER Working Paper No.12155, April 2006. G. Henry, C. Thompson, K. Bastian, C. Fortner, D. Kershaw, K. Purtell, R. Zulli, A. Mabe, and A. Chapman, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina: Teacher Portals". The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Institute for Public Policy, 2010, 34p. Z. Xu, J. Hannaway, and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder, Working Paper 17, April 2007.D. Boyd, P. Grossman, K. Hammerness. H. Lankford, S. Loeb, M. Ronfeldt, and J. Wyckoff, "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers: How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare?: Evidence from New York City." NBER Working Paper No.16017, May 2010; as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by D. Boyd, P. Grossman, H. Lankford, S. Loeb, and J. Wyckoff, NBER Working Paper No.11844, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," by P. Decker, D. Mayer, and S. Glazerman, Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004.