Extended Emergency Licenses: West Virginia

2015 Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). Extended Emergency Licenses: West Virginia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WV-Extended-Emergency-Licenses-73

Analysis of West Virginia's policies

West Virginia requires that all new teachers pass all required subject-matter tests as a condition of initial licensure.

However, West Virginia allows teachers who hold a valid certificate from another state to teach on a one-year, nonrenewable temporary certificate even if they have not met the state's licensure requirements, which include subject-matter testing. (See Goal 2-E.)



Citation

Recommendations for West Virginia

Ensure that all teachers—including out of state teachers—meet West Virginia's subject-matter licensing standards.
Allowing out-of-state teachers who have not passed licensure tests to remain in the classroom for up to one year neglects the needs of students. This is especially important when it comes to out-of-state teachers who have passed content tests that do not rise to the level of West Virginia's standards, such as an elementary content test that requires a passing score on each content core subject (see "Licensure Reciprocity" analysis and recommendations).

State response to our analysis

West Virginia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. However this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.

How we graded

Research rationale

Teachers who have not passed licensing subject-matter tests place students at risk.
While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimal state standards.

While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, the availability of provisional certificates and waivers year after year signals that even the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.

Extended Emergency Licenses: Supporting Research
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, Volume 100, No. 1, February 1992, pp. 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, December 2010.