Tiered Licensure Technical Advisory Committee

Taylor Raney, Director of Teacher Certification and Professional Standards

Tiered Licensure is not a new conversation in Idaho. Ten years ago, the Maximizing Opportunities for Students and Teachers Committee (MOST Committee) recommended a system of tiered licensure.

In October 2013, Idaho was one of seven states selected to participate in a two-year grant to transform teacher preparation programs. The grant was based on a set of recommendations, titled "Our Responsibility, Our Promise." The report specifically recommends a multi-tiered licensure system that reflects new performance expectations for educators and assessment linked to evidence of student achievement. The grant was put together by a broad group of education stakeholders in Idaho and included, in part, a basic tiered licensure model for teachers and administrators.

At the same time the NTEP grant was being put together, the Governor's Task Force for Improving Education was meeting regularly and discussing the merits of moving to a system of tiered licensure. In their final recommendations, the Task Force recommended the following:

"…a continuum of professional growth and learning that is tied to licensure. Movement through the system would be accomplished in a very specific, objective way using performance measures. Evaluations based upon the Framework for Teaching (FfT) will begin in pre-service and continue throughout a teacher's career. This performance assessment would be supported by multiple artifacts and evidence of the candidate's practice."

In the Task Force for Improving Education's recommendations, a three-tiered model was suggested. The three tiers are:

  1. Initial or Novice License
  2. Professional License
  3. Master Teacher License

The Task Force recommendations specifically point to two performance measures to enter initial licensure from a teacher preparation program-an evaluation based upon the Danielson Framework for Teaching and ongoing Individualized Professional Learning Plans.

The Individualized Learning Plan is created in coordination with the pre-service teacher's university supervisor and K-12 cooperating teacher. As part of the development of the plan, the pre-service teacher would develop student learning objectives in order to assess student growth during the pre-service teacher's student teaching period. The plan will be submitted to the State Department of Education, along with the candidate's scores in the components of the Danielson Framework evaluation, to apply for Initial Licensure and inform professional development.

The Initial Tier, according to the Task Force recommendation, would be a three-year license that is non-renewable after the sixth year. Novice teachers could apply for a Professional Licensure after three years from the time of initial licensure.

The Professional License would be a five-year license with renewal dependent upon performance. The Task Force recommendations state that development of student learning objectives and standardized state test scores should be considered as two parts of multiple evidences of teacher performance.

After five years with a Professional License, a teacher may apply to be considered for a Master Teacher License. This license would also be a five-year license, renewable dependent upon performance.

The Task Force also recommended the state use tiered licensure to determine how a teacher will move through the Career Ladder Compensation Model.

While the Task Force provided a solid framework for tiered licensure, they purposefully did not provide the details for how this should be implemented in Idaho. Instead, they left this work up to a group of stakeholders. The Task Force unanimously recommended that the "State Department of Education work with stakeholders to clearly determine expectations and authentic measures to earn each tier of the licensure model."

The State The State Department of Education had already been working on tiered licensure; therefore, based on this recommendation, the Department expanded its working group to create a Technical Advisory Committee to complete the Task Force's work on tiered licensure.

The committee is made up of key stakeholder groups in education, including the initial working group that developed the NTEP grant.

The committee began meeting in October 2013 and have had five meetings to date. During this time, they have discussed the expectations of the committee, reviewed early state work, and explored tiered licensure in other states.

After hearing from these states, the committee drafted a rationale for implementing tiered licensure in the state of Idaho that included:

  • creating "learner ready" new teachers,
  • retaining effective teachers,
  • raising standards for the profession,
  • raising accountability for administrators in regards to new teachers,
  • building meaningful professional relationship in every building,
  • and identifying struggling teachers early.

The committee has drafted tenets for the Initial License and believes those first three years of licensure should include:

  • mentoring;
  • measures of student performance;
  • an evaluation;
  • and an Individualized Professional Learning Plan that incorporates a student survey, self-reflection, use of data, and use of instructional shifts towards the Idaho Core Standards.

The committee will continue to meet through the summer to finalize recommendations for exactly how a teacher can move from Initial to Professional to Master.

This fall, they plan to present the State Board of Education with administrative rule to implement a tiered system of licensure, which will eventually be brought to the Idaho Legislature.