Licensure Advancement : Virginia

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should base licensure advancement on evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Advancement : Virginia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/VA-Licensure-Advancement--8

Analysis of Virginia's policies

Virginia's requirements for licensure advancement and renewal are not based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. 

In Virginia, new teachers apply for the initial Collegiate Professional license, which is valid for five years and can be renewed. The requirement for renewal is completion of 180 professional development points based on an individualized professional development plan. Points can be accrued from one or more of the following options: college credit, professional conference, curriculum development, publication of an article, publication of a book, mentorship/supervision, educational project and employing educational agency professional development activity. A minimum of 90 points (three semester hours in a content area) in the license holder's endorsement area or areas is required of license holders without a master's degree and may be satisfied at the undergraduate (two-year or four-year institution) or graduate level.

The state also offers the option of a Postgraduate Professional license for teachers holding a graduate (master's or doctorate) degree.

Virginia does not include evidence of effectiveness as a factor in the renewal of a professional license. Virginia teachers must renew their licenses every five years by obtaining 180 professional development points in the validity period.  For applicants without a master's degree, 90 of these points must be graduate credits from an accredited master's program.

Citation

Recommendations for Virginia

Require evidence of effectiveness as a part of teacher licensing policy.
Virginia 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, Virginia's menu of general, nonspecific professional development 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 advanced degrees to licensure advancement.
Virginia should remove its mandate that teachers obtain a master's or doctorate degree for any level of 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. 

State response to our analysis

Virginia asserted that it does not require teachers to fulfill generic, unspecified coursework requirements to advance from one license to another. The state also reiterated that it does not require teachers to have an advanced degree as a condition of professional licensure.

Research rationale

For a meta-analysis of the research on the relationship between advanced degrees and teacher effectiveness, see Metin and Stevenson, "The Impact of Teachers' Advanced Degrees on Student Learning" which has been published as an appendix in Arizona's Race to the Top: What Will It Take to Compete? (NCTQ, 2009). 

Studies in the analysis include: Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2004) Teacher sorting, teacher shopping, and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2006) Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11936; Clotfelter, C. T. Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2007) How and why do teacher credentials matter for student achievement? Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1994) Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from high school and beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13, 1-17; Goldhaber, D., & Anthony, E. (2007) Can teacher quality be effectively assessed? National board certification as a signal of effective teaching. Review of Economics and Statistics, 89(1), 134-150; Goldhaber, D. D., & Brewer, D. J. (1997) Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? Assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity. The Journal of Human Resources, 3, 505-523; Goldhaber, D. & Brewer, D. J. (2000) Does teacher certification matter? High school teacher certification status and student achievement. Educational and Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22(2), 129-145; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., O'Brien, D. M., & Rivkin, S. G. (2005) The market for teacher quality. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11154.pdf; Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., & Rivkin, S. G. (1998) Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Bureau of Economic Research web site:http://www.nber.org/papers/w6691.pdf; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2006) Value-added models and the measurement of teacher quality. Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007a) What makes for a good teacher and who can tell? Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2007b) Teacher training, teacher quality, and student achievement. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research web site: http://www.caldercenter.org/PDF/1001059_Teacher_Training.pdf; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2008) The effects of NBPTS-certified teachers on student achievement. National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research; Jeptson, C. (2005) Teacher characteristics and student achievement: Evidence from teacher surveys. Journal of Urban Economics, 57,302-319; Monk, D. H. (1994) Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement. Economics of Educational Review, 13, 125-145; Riordan, J. (2006, April) Is there a relationship between No Child Left Behind indicators of teacher quality and the cognitive and social development of early elementary students? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA; Schneider, B. L. (1985) Further evidence of school effects. Journal of Educational Research, 78, 351-356.

For evidence on the lack of correlation between education coursework and teacher effectiveness, see M.B. Allen, "Eight Questions on Teacher Preparation: What Does the Research Say?" Education Commission of the States, (2003) at: http://www.ecs.org/html/educationIssues/teachingquality/tpreport/home/summary.pdf.