Licensure Loopholes: Rhode Island

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Loopholes: Rhode Island results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Rhode Island's policies

Rhode Island allows teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under its emergency permit. This permit is valid for one year and may be issued to individuals who lack the requirements for the professional certificate if the local superintendent can document that a certified teacher is unavailable. 


Recommendations for Rhode Island

Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While Rhode Island's policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its alternative license for one year only before teachers are required to take the obligatory subject-matter tests, the state could take its policy a step further and require all teachers to meet subject-matter license requirements prior to entering the classroom.

State response to our analysis

Rhode Island recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state noted that if adopted, proposed certification regulations would address this issue.

Last word

NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.

Research rationale

Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See E. Hanushek, "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," The Journal of Political Economy 100 No. 1 (1992): 84-117. Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class of 20.  "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 16606 (2010).