The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Ohio's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Ohio has implemented a new four-tier licensure system—a four-year nonrenewable resident educator license, a five-year renewable professional educator license, a senior educator five-year renewable license and a lead professional educator five-year renewable license. To advance from the resident to professional license, teachers are required to complete the state's four-year Resident Educator mentoring and support program. The two additional levels of advancement require candidates to obtain a master's degree. Regrettably, advanced degrees have not been shown to positively influence teachers' effectiveness, and they may also serve as disincentives to teacher retention.
Ohio does not include evidence of effectiveness as a factor in the renewal of a professional license. Teachers currently employed by a Ohio school district are responsible for the design of an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP). As part of the plan, the educator must complete six semester hours of coursework related to classroom teaching and/or the area of licensure, or 18 continuing education units (CEUs;180 contact hours), or equivalent combination of both. If not currently employed in an Ohio School/District, teachers must complete six semester hours of relevant coursework from an accredited institution of higher learning.
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Ohio should require evidence of teacher effectiveness to be a factor in determining whether teachers can renew their licenses or advance to a higher-level license.
Discontinue license renewal requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
While targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, Ohio's 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.
End requirement tying teacher advancement to master's degrees.
Ohio should remove its mandate that teachers obtain a master's degree for license advancement. Research is conclusive and emphatic that master's degrees do not have any significant correlation to classroom performance. Rather, advancement should be based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Ohio asserted that its requirements for advancement from a resident educator license to a professional educator license include evidence of teacher effectiveness. This level of advancement requires successful completion of a teacher residency program, including a performance-based assessment that must be successfully completed.
The state also contended that its requirements for advancement from a professional educator license to either a senior professional educator license or lead professional educator license include evidence of teacher effectiveness because teachers must demonstrate effective practice at the accomplished or distinguished level of performance as described in the Ohio Standards for Teachers.
Further, Ohio pointed out that it does not require teachers to fulfill generic, unspecified coursework requirements to advance from a probationary to a nonprobationary license. The resident educator license is the state's "probationary" license, and there are no coursework requirements to advance to a professional (nonprobationary) license. Rather, successful completion of the residency program, including a performance-based assessment, is required.
In addition, the state argued that it does not have nonspecific coursework requirements for license renewal that merely call for teachers to complete a certain amount of seat time. To renew a professional license, a teacher is required to have an approved Individual Professional Development Plan to guide the selection of coursework and other professional development work for license renewal, and the Plan is required to be aligned with the needs of the educator, the students, the school and the school district, as well as the professional educator standards.
Finally, Ohio noted that the master's degree requirement is associated only with the senior professional educator license and the lead professional educator license. Teachers may teach on professional licenses for their entire teaching careers without obtaining master's degrees and advancing to the senior or lead license. The advanced degree is required because the purpose of these licenses is to enable teachers to advance in their professional careers, to hold differentiated roles beyond their own classrooms and to serve as leaders of school improvement at the building or district level.
NCTQ encourages the state to articulate in its requirements that evidence of effectiveness should be considered in decisions related to licensure advancement and renewal. It may well be the state's intent to include objective evidence of student performance, but this is not clear in current requirements.