Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tennessee Policy Profile

Flag of Tennessee

Tennessee

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with students with disabilities and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

Tennessee Licensure Standards address the expectation that teachers have knowledge and skills to work with students with disabilities and students of diverse backgrounds.

Standard 2: Student Learning and Development

Candidates understand how students learn and develop and provide learning opportunities that support student intellectual, social and personal development. Candidates understand how learning occurs—how all students construct knowledge and acquire skills—and are able to provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development. When making instructional decisions, candidates draw upon an in-depth knowledge of developmental progression in student physical, social, emotional, moral, and cognitive domains and recognize that students with disabilities may exhibit greater individual variation and that a disability often influences development and functioning in more than one area. Candidates use this knowledge to optimize learning opportunities for each student.

Standard 3: Diverse Learners

Candidates understand how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners. Candidates understand and identify differences in student approaches to learning and performance. They design instruction and adapt instructional techniques for all students within the broader context of their families, cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, languages, communities, peer/social groups and exceptional learning needs. Candidates create a learning community which is inclusive and in which individual differences are respected.

Source: Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), Tennessee Licensure Standards and Induction Guidelines, (pages 3-1 to 3-7)

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

The Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards do not specifically address knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, the standards define an effective instructional leader as one who promotes the achievement of all students. Standard A Indicator 4 states that an effective instructional leader leads educators to develop and execute interventions to address all students’ learning needs, grounded in multiple sources of data (academic, social, and/or emotional).

Sources:

Tennessee State Board of Education (TN SBOE), Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy

Revised Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards (2013)


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

All teacher-training institutions are encouraged to offer, and encourage all students to take, a course specifically designed for prevention and intervention strategies in behavioral/emotional disorders. This course should include information from the fields of psychology and education.

Although the state does not require specific course work, all initial teacher preparation programs must include content, usually coursework coupled with field experiences that address the Tennessee professional Education Standards 2 and 3 cited above.

Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-5-5608, Training for teaching children with behavioral or emotional disorders

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

Student teachers shall have direct teaching experiences with students with diverse learning needs and varied backgrounds in at least two classrooms, which may be in different schools during their internship.

All teacher candidates must complete studies in professional education. The course work and related field and laboratory experiences enable the teacher candidate to meet the following performance standards in teaching all students including students with disabilities.

Sources:

Tennessee Rules0520-2-3-.11 (3)(c), Teacher Education and Licensure

Tennessee Licensure Standards and Induction Guidelines

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Tennessee collects program-specific, objective data that reflect program performance, including data on the achievement gains of program graduates’ students. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission reports these data for traditional and alternate route programs on the state’s website to provide meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Tennessee

Tennessee Commission on Higher Education, 2013 Tennessee Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Require course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners

The Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy’s curriculum requirements for school leader preparation programs do not specifically require course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities. However, instructional leadership preparation programs must develop a comprehensive and coherent standards-based curriculum that is aligned with the TILS, NCATE/ECCL, ISSLC, and state accountability and evaluation requirements.

Standard four of the NCATE Unit Standards requires that the preparation program designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Targets for this standard include:

  • Candidates learn to contextualize teaching and draw effectively on representations from the students’ own experiences/cultures. They challenge students toward cognitive complexity and engage all students, including students with exceptionalities, through instructional conversation. (4.a)
  • Candidates in conventional and distance learning programs interact with professional education faculty, faculty in other units, and school faculty from a broad range of diverse groups. Higher education and school faculty with whom candidates work throughout their preparation program are knowledgeable about and sensitive to preparing candidates to work with diverse students, including students with exceptionalities. (4.b)

The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards for School Leaders are nationally recognized standards that establish a common set of knowledge, skills and attributes expected of school leaders, and serve as the foundation for preparation and appraisal of school leaders. The standards expect education leaders to promote “the success of every student.”

Sources:

TN SBOE, Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy, Preparation Curriculum (I.c.)

NCATE Unit Standards

Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), Education Leadership Policy Standards

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Our state policy review did not identify such a principal/administrator program accountability system.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

Tennessee has adopted the following special education endorsements:

Endorsement Area Effective Date

(September 1)

Suspended Date

(August 31)

SE Preschool/Early Childhood PreK-3 2008
SE Interventionist K-8 2015
SE Interventionist 6-12 2015
SE Modified Program K-12 2006 2017
SE Comprehensive Program K-12 2008
SE Vision PreK-12 2009
SE Hearing PreK-12 1995
SE Speech/Language Therapy Associate* PreK-12 2008

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Tennessee

TN SBOE, Tennessee State Board of Education Educator Licensure Policy

Email communication with TDOE, September 16, 2014

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

Except for post-baccalaureate programs, teacher candidates entering approved preparation programs must take the Praxis I. Praxis I is not required for post baccalaureate candidates who have earned a degree from an accredited college or university.

Praxis II is required for each area of certification. The Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test is required for all K-12 certificates.

The examinations and corresponding required scores on the Praxis Series are as follows:

Tests allowed for enrollment of teacher candidates in educator preparation programs (September 1, 2013): Educator preparation program admission requirements allow the following exams.

Praxis Test Code/Title

Test Code

Passing Score

Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading

5712

156

Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing

5722

162

Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics

5732

150

Tests required for all licensure candidates (Effective September 1, 2013):

Every initial license applicant is required to take one of the PLT exams. However, those candidates for practitioner licensure may complete a performance assessment that: 1) is aligned to the Tennessee Professional Education Licensure Standards and 2) has documented reliability and validity, in order to satisfy the professional education assessment requirements.

Praxis Test Code/Title

Test Code

Passing Score

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Early Childhood

0621

155

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) K-6

0622

158

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) 5-9

0623

158

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) 7-12

0624

155

Core Knowledge and Applications is required for the following special education areas: hearing, vision, and preschool/early childhood. Teaching Reading: Elementary Education is required for the following special education areas: interventionist, comprehensive, hearing, vision and preschool/early childhood.

Sources:

ETS, Tennessee Test Requirements

TN SBOE, Professional Assessment for Tennessee Educators, 5.105

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Our state policy scan did not identify any required professional development in working with special populations to move from an initial (practitioner) to a professional license.

The state has two types of teacher licenses. The Practitioner License has a 3-year validity period and is the first license issued to an educator. There are three types of practitioner licenses: Practitioner Teacher, Practitioner School Services Personnel, and the Practitioner Occupational Teacher. Individuals applying for the practitioner license must meet the following criteria:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
  2. Be enrolled in or have completed a state-approved educator preparation program;
  3. Be recommended by the state-approved educator preparation program, and
  4. Have submitted qualifying scores on required assessments.

The Professional License has a 6-year validity period and is issued to educators who have completed an approved educator preparation program and meet licensure expectations at the practitioner level. There are three types of professional licenses: Professional Teacher, Professional School Services Personnel, and the Professional Occupational Teacher.

To advance from a practitioner license to a professional license, an educator must have:

  1. Three years of experience, and
  2. The recommendation of the Director of Schools, or documentation of 30 professional learning credits.

To renew the professional license an educator must have documentation of 60 professional learning credits.

Sources:

TDOE, Educator Licensing

TN SBOE, Educator Licensure, 5.502

Rules of the State Board of Education, Chapter 0520-02-03, Educator Licensure

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

The state of Tennessee requires school leaders to obtain a master’s degree, have prior teaching experience, complete a state-approved preparation program, and pass a test.

Principal candidates for a five-year initial license must obtain a master’s degree, complete an approved program in school administration and supervision that includes an internship and pass a state approved assessment/test for principals or other school administrators.

Sources:

TN SBOE, Rules of the State Board of Education, 0520-2-4-.02(1)(j)(k)

ECS, Administrator License Requirements, Portability, Waivers and Alternative Certification

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

The State Board of Education’s new educator licensure rules have eliminated the previous requirement that all first-year teachers receive induction support, beginning on September 1, 2015. The existing rules require such support either in the form of a full-year internship or a combination of a student teaching semester with subsequent induction support.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Tennessee Department of Education, Changes to Licensure Policy in 2015

Email communication from TDOE, September 16, 2014

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

The state does not require new school administrators to receive induction support. Individuals with the Instructional Leadership License – Beginning may advance to the Instructional Leadership License – Professional by meeting the requirements of either the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders (TASL) or Individual Professional Learning Plan pathways.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

Tennessee first adopted the Professional Learning Standards developed by Learning Forward in 2002. The State Board of Education adopted the latest version of the Standards in 2012. The Standards outline the characteristics of professional learning that lead to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results.

Sources:

Tennessee State Board of Education, Standards for Professional Development

Learning Forward

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

The Professional Learning Standards, developed by Learning Forward and adopted by Tennessee, describe the attributes of effective professional learning to guide the decisions and practices of all persons with the responsibility to fund, regulate, manage, conceive, organize, implement, and evaluate professional learning. The State Board of Education adopted the latest version of the Standards in 2012.

Implicit in the standards are several prerequisites for effective professional learning. These prerequisites reside where professional learning intersects with professional ethics. These prerequisites include educators’ commitment to all students.

Source: Tennessee State Board of Education, Standards for Professional Development