Question of the Month: What laws or licensing requirements do states have in place to ensure new teachers are prepared to be effective in the classroom?
Wisconsin’s SB 461, passed in 2012, requires each teacher-education program in the state to report the rate at which its graduates pass the state licensure test on a first try. State education leaders are also developing a process to evaluate teacher-education programs based on the performance and effectiveness of their graduates.
Lastly, the Wisconsin measure sets a higher standard for someone wanting to be an elementary school teacher or reading specialist. These prospective educators must now pass a tougher licensure test that assesses their knowledge of reading instruction.
This type of licensing requirement is one of many state policies analyzed every year by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The council evaluates the laws and rules that every state has in place to “deliver well-prepared teachers.” Its most recent study ranks Indiana as having the strongest policies in the Midwest and among the strongest in the nation. For example, Indiana requires:
- prospective elementary school teachers to pass a content test in which they get passing scores in all four major content areas: mathematics, reading and language arts, science and social studies (Minnesota has a similar requirement);
- prospective elementary school teachers to pass a test assessing their knowledge of research-based reading instruction (Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin also require this); and
- prospective middle-school teachers and high school teachers to pass tests assessing their knowledge of subject-specific content (Iowa, Kansas and Ohio also require the passage of such tests by all middle school teachers; across the Midwest, some type of content-area testing is required for high school certification).
Then, in order to qualify for a five-year professional license, teachers must pass a performance-based assessment of their instructional skills.
|Stateline Midwest ~ June 2014||1.95 MB|