The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
South Carolina's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
After successfully completing the Initial Certificate, teachers in South Carolina may advance to the bachelor's degree level, the first of five successive levels within its Professional Certificate, if they complete the induction program, any ancillary requirements and the formal evaluation. The remaining successive levels include a bachelor's degree plus 18 hours, a master's degree, a master's degree plus 30 hours and a doctorate degree.
Each level within the Professional Certificate is renewable, so teachers are not necessarily required to advance past the bachelor's degree level; however, those who do not earn a master's degree must earn a minimum of 60 renewal credits during each five-year validity period.
South Carolina does not include evidence of effectiveness as a factor in the renewal of a professional license. South Carolina teachers must renew their licenses every five years by completing 120 renewal credits made up mostly of professional development requirements.
Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
South Carolina 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 requirements with no direct connection to classroom effectiveness.
While targeted requirements may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, South Carolina's general, nonspecific credit hour coursework requirements for license advancement and 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.
South Carolina 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.
South Carolina asserted that teachers must demonstrate effectiveness through the annual evaluation process, and they can be placed on formal evaluation prior to any school year, regardless of their years of experience.
South Carolina also contended that only through ongoing and relevant professional development can teachers improve their efficacy. The state added that while classroom effectiveness must be the predominant measure for license renewal, it is important that teachers complete professional growth opportunities as well.
As discussed in Goal 3-B, although South Carolina requires evidence of student learning in its teacher evaluations, the state does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion.
Further, license requirements that have a direct connection to classroom effectiveness, and that may potentially expand teacher knowledge and improve teacher practice, are encouraged.