From the Field

Research Notes: The Impact of Reducing Teacher-Licensure Requirements

As school districts around the country contend with teacher shortages, policymakers have sought ways to incentivize people to become teachers. One strategy is reducing teacher-licensure requirements. Researcher Olivia Chi and colleagues from Boston University examined the impact of the move on student outcomes and teacher quality in Massachusetts public schools.

The authors found that emergency-licensed teachers and their peers with traditional licenses achieved similar student test score growth in math and English Language Arts (ELA). But emergency-licensed teachers who had no previous experience in Massachusetts public schools tended to receive lower performance ratings and showed lower student test score growth, particularly in ELA.

Though public discussion of the study has focused on the finding that emergency-licensed teachers performed about as well as their traditionally licensed peers, the researchers note that the pool of people who began teaching on emergency licenses during the pandemic may have had more prior classroom experience than could be expected among future cohorts entering teaching on emergency licenses.

Teacher Licensure and Workforce Quality: Insights from Covid-Era Emergency Licenses in Massachusetts

Olivia L. Chi, Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, and Sidrah Baloch

April 2024