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The certification and licensing of teachers is a subject of great importance to states as they strive to reach the Highly Qualified teacher standards as determined by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). A number of states have aligned their certification requirements with those outlined in NCLB, and those who have not are under review, having delivered plans to the U.S. Department of Education detailing how they will meet the highly qualified teacher in every classroom objective. In recognizing the effectiveness and long term student benefits of well-trained teachers, states are moving away from allowing teachers to hold temporary and emergency licenses. Some states offer specialized pathways or alternative licensure for career-changers to expedite the initial certification process. Many states have reviewed how they measure teacher content knowledge, resulting in some states changing or improving their testing requirements. Assessments may include basic skills, subject knowledge, or pedagogy, while some require performance assessment for new and/or continuing teachers.

Most states have some type of tiered licensing structure which allows teachers to meet basic preparation and content requirements to begin teaching, and obtain further training and experience before renewing or attaining the next level of certification.


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