Licensure Reciprocity: Oklahoma

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Oklahoma results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OK-Licensure-Reciprocity-7

Analysis of Oklahoma's policies

Oklahoma does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.

Regrettably, Oklahoma grants a waiver for its licensing tests to out-of-state teachers who have passed comparable tests in their previous states, regardless of whether or not they have met Oklahoma's passing scores.

Teachers with comparable out-of-state certificates are eligible for Oklahoma's standard certificate. Applicants must have at least one year of experience or participate in the state's Resident Teacher Program. A residency committee (made up of a school administrator, a teacher consultant, and a teacher educator from a nearby college or university) evaluates each new teacher in Oklahoma at the end of a first year of teaching and makes a recommendation as to whether he or she should be granted full certification in Oklahoma.

In addition, transcripts are required for all applicants. However, it is not clear whether the state analyzes transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

Oklahoma is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.

Citation

Recommendations for Oklahoma

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Oklahoma takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has met another state's testing requirements. The state should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. The negative impact on student learning stemming from a teacher's inadequate subject-matter knowledge is not mitigated by the teacher's having passed a test in another state.

Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment. Oklahoma should consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Oklahoma.

State response to our analysis

Oklahoma asserted that it does support reciprocity from other states in most instances, excluding temporary, emergency and substitute certificates. The state also noted that its Resident Teacher Program is on hiatus. 

Oklahoma reiterated that it does not have a recency requirement, and that it only requires transcripts to ensure that applicants have earned degrees from regionally accredited colleges. Further, an area such as Reading Specialist may only require a bachelor's degree in other states, while Oklahoma requires a master's degree. 

Last word

The submission of transcripts should be unnecessary for certified out-of-state teachers, unless the state has some reason to suspect that the certifying state routinely licenses teachers who do not have a degree.

Research rationale

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 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at:
http://www.ncbex.org/ .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).