The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
Evidence of Effectiveness: New Mexico's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Advancing to a Professional License: New Mexico has a three-tiered licensure system. To advance from a Level I teaching license to a Level II teaching license, teachers are required to complete three years' teaching experience, fulfill the mentoring requirement, and submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD). The PDD includes five strands, with Strand E being a culminating report of annual evaluations conducted by the school district. However, New Mexico no longer requires objective measures of student growth to be a factor in a teacher's evaluation score.
Advancement to a Level III license requires either an advanced degree or National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification. Teachers are not required to advance past the Level II certification.
Renewing a Professional License: To renew a license, teachers in New Mexico must submit a superintendent's recommendation form verifying satisfactory demonstration of competencies.
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
New Mexico should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers may renew or advance to a higher-level license.
End requirement tying teacher advancement to master's degrees.
New Mexico should remove its mandate that teachers obtain a master's degree for optional license advancement. Research is clear that a master's degree generally does not have any significant correlation with classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
New Mexico did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
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.