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No Educator Left Behind:
State Certification

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.

Question:

How does the No Child Left Behind Act define full state certification?

U.S. Department of Education:

Full state certification is defined by state policy. It means that a teacher has fully met those state requirements that apply to that teacher, based on his or her years of experience. (Requirements might be different for beginning teachers than they are for current teachers.) "Full state certification" also means that a teacher has not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis.

States are free to redefine their certification requirements in accordance with state law (for example, they may streamline requirements determined to be too onerous) or to create non-traditional approaches to certification. If state laws permit, a state may determine that an individual is fully certified if he or she has passed a rigorous assessment of subject matter mastery, such as those currently being developed by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. Such non-traditional approaches to full state certification are different from alternative routes to certification because, in the former, the candidate is fully certified before he or she starts teaching.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.

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