Licensure for Substitute Teachers:
Connecticut

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that substitute teachers are appropriately placed and assessed in the classroom. This goal was new in 2017 and was not graded.

Analysis of Connecticut's policies

Substitute License(s): Connecticut requires a substitute teacher authorization only if a substitute will be teaching more than 40 consecutive days in one assignment, making this the state's de facto long-term substitute license. A substitute authorization requires a bachelor's degree plus at least 12 credit hours in the subject area to be taught. Substitutes teaching 40 days or less are only required to have a bachelor's degree. However, a waiver for the bachelor's degree may be granted by the employing superintendent. In addition, the state allows certified teachers to act as long term substitutes (at least 10 months in the same position) as long as the position is "in compliance with their certificate."

Length of Assignment: Connecticut permits holders of a substitute authorization to teach for more than 40 days in the same assignment. A substitute without an authorization may not teach for more than 40 days in the same assignment. Substitutes who have been granted a bachelor's degree waiver may teach up to 40 days in the same assignment. Certified teachers may act as substitutes for 10 months in the same position.

Evaluation of Long-Term Substitutes: Connecticut requires certified teachers acting as long-term substitutes to participate in the state's Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM).

Citation

Recommendations for Connecticut

Distinguish requirements for short-term and long-term substitutes.
Connecticut should distinguish between requirements for short-term and long-term substitutes so that it can ensure that its requirements are appropriate for the needs of these teachers. The state's long-term substitute requirements should be rigorous (e.g., that all long-term substitutes have current or expired licenses) to help ensure that teachers who are spending extended periods of time with students are prepared to do so.

Limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom.
Connecticut should limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom without completing additional requirements or obtaining a long-term substitute license. The maximum number of days should be no more than 10 percent of the length of the school year. Connecticut's policy of allowing substitute teachers to teach 40 consecutive days in the same classroom may be detrimental to instructional quality and daily productivity.

Require long-term substitute teachers to be evaluated.
Connecticut should maintain standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for licensed teachers for extended periods of time. Connecticut can help ensure that substitute teachers are held to high standards and have access to the supports necessary to improve their practice by requiring evaluations— which it may find appropriate to modify from its standard, state-required teacher evaluations— of long-term substitutes.

State response to our analysis

Connecticut was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts necessary for this analysis. In addition, the state noted that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) recommends the following with regard to the evaluation of substitute teachers:

"(a) School districts align their evaluation of long-term substitute teachers (employed 10 months) with the same requirements for participation in the TEAM program: Teachers who are employed full-time or part-time in a position requiring certification either under contract or as a long-term substitute for a ten month duration, serving under a valid certificate and endorsement appropriate to the position held, must be evaluated (and participate in TEAM if applicable). Furthermore, the evaluation should be based on the available data and the components that are applicable (as determined by the district) within that 10 month duration.
(b) If the long-term substitute holds a valid certificate and appropriate endorsement and is employed more than 90 days but less than 10 months, then the evaluation and support requirements are at the district's discretion."


How we graded

Not applicable. This goal was not scored in 2017.

Research rationale

Research finds that teacher absences negatively affect student achievement and growth.[1] While some of this is attributable to the disruption of regular classroom practices and instruction,[2] it may also be attributable to substitute teacher quality. The gap in instructional quality and daily productivity when a regular teacher is replaced by a substitute teacher is significant.[3] However, absences covered by substitutes licensed by the state are not as detrimental to student achievement as those covered by non-licensed substitutes.[4] Some research hypothesizes that the low-skill level and mobility of substitute teachers may contribute to the reduction in instructional focus and quality and that even when substitute teachers are good instructors, they may be unable to effectively implement a teacher of record's long-term instructional strategies.[5] Parents, teachers, principals, and students have concerns about substitute teachers' quality and qualifications.[6] States should maintain rigorous standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for teachers for long stretches of time.


[1]Miller, R. T., Murnane, R. J., & Willett, J. B. (2008). Do teacher absences impact student achievement? Longitudinal evidence from one urban school district. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(2), 181-200.; Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2009). Are teacher absences worth worrying about in the United States? Education Finance and Policy, 4(2), 115-149.; Joseph, N., Waymack, N., & Zielaski, D. (2014). Roll call: The importance of teacher attendance. National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/RollCall_TeacherAttendance; Zubrzycki, J. (2012). Educators take another look at substitutes. Education Week, 31(36), 1-16.
[2] Rundall, R. A. (1986). Continuity in subbing: Problems and solutions. Clearing House, 59(5), 240.; Turbeville, I. F. (1987). The relationship of selected teacher characteristics on teacher absenteeism in selected school districts of South Carolina (Unpublished Dissertation). University of South Carolina.
[3] Miller, R. T., Murnane, R. J., & Willett, J. B. (2008). Do teacher absences impact student achievement? Longitudinal evidence from one urban school district. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(2), 181-200.; Varlas, L. (2001). Succeeding with substitute teachers. Education Update, 43(7).; Gagne, R. M. (1977). The conditions of learning (3d ed.). New York, NY: Holt Rinehart and Winston.; Capitan, J. H., & et al. (1980). Teacher absenteeism. A study of the Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators. Seven Hills, OH: American Association of School Personnel Administrators; Herrmann, M. A., & Rockoff, J. E. (2012). Worker absence and productivity: Evidence from teaching. Journal of Labor Economics, 30(4), 749-782.
[4] Note that this study did not define what "licensed" meant in the context of substitutes; see: Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2009). Are teacher absences worth worrying about in the United States? (Working Paper 24). National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
[5] Miller, R. T., Murnane, R. J., & Willett, J. B. (2008). Do teacher absences impact student achievement? Longitudinal evidence from one urban school district. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(2), 181-200.
[6] Abdal-Haqq, I. (1997). Not just a warm body: Changing images of the substitute teacher. ERIC Digest.; Ostapczuk, E. D. (1994). What makes effective secondary education substitute teachers?: Literature review. ERIC Digest.; Weems, L. (2003). Representations of substitute teachers and the paradoxes of professionalism. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(3), 254-265.; Seldner, J. K. (1983). Substitute teaching: Is there a better way? Teacher Education Quarterly, 61-70.