A Multistate Review of Professional Teaching Standards

Primary Researchers: Reino Makkonen, Melissa Eiler White

Publication Date: July 2009

This study, developed at the request of key education agencies in California, provides an overview of the teaching standards in five other states — Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas — that were purposefully selected to inform California's 2009 revision of its own teaching standards. California's current teaching standards are also reviewed as a point of comparison. The review focuses on the structure and target audience of the states' teaching standards, as well as on selected content.

The study resulted in a report written by researchers in WestEd's Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West) program, as well as two supplemental documents: Teaching Standards: Profiles for Six States and Profiles of Key National Teaching Standards [download below].

To download a 2-page summary click here.

Research Questions

Three questions guided the research for this multistate review:

  • What is the target group of teachers for the teaching standards?
  • What is the structure of the teaching standards?
  • To what extent do the state teaching standards address instruction of English learner students, instruction of students with disabilities, use of education technology, and instruction in the context of accountability and student learning standards?


Primary teaching standards documents were identified and reviewed for the six states. Examination of the standards documents focused on the target group of teachers, structure (scope, length, and terminology), and selected content (how the standards address particular teaching-related issues). The target group of teachers and the scope, length, and terminology were identified through references in introductions, preambles, or the standards themselves.

To establish how the standards address the specific teaching-related issues of interest, standards were investigated to determine whether they explicitly referenced sets of keywords related to four topic areas: English learner students, students with disabilities, education technology, and accountability and student learning standards. References were then categorized according to topics that researchers identified inductively. Categorization discrepancies were resolved by assigning final codes based on the action that was directly described; references were coded in two categories only when a reference explicitly included two different actions.

Profiles of each state's teaching standards were prepared and used as the basis for the cross-state analysis.

Key Findings

Key findings of the review include the following:

  • California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio have developed their teaching standards to cover all teachers, from beginning to experienced. Texas has developed its teaching standards expressly for beginning teachers.
  • The professional teaching standards documents reviewed for this report vary in length between 4 pages (North Carolina) and 32 pages (Florida), and the number of teaching standards in each document ranges from 4 (Texas) to 12 (Florida).
  • The states' teaching standards address instruction of English language learner students through recognition or support of diversity, differentiation of instruction, knowledge of related theory or strategies, communication with students and families, assessment of students' language status and development, and selection of related materials or curricula.
  • Instruction of students with disabilities is addressed through differentiated instruction, inclusion, collaboration with Individualized Education Program teams and other stakeholders, students' rights, patterns or styles of learning, identification of students with disabilities, teachers' attitudes and self-assessment, and assessment of students with disabilities.
  • The use of technology in the classroom was addressed through effective integration into instruction, conventions for accessing or managing information, use of technology to assess students, identification of technology and evaluation of its instructional value, teachers' demonstration of competence with or interest in technology, use of assistive technology for students with disabilities, and use of technology for collaboration or communication.
  • The teaching standards considered accountability and student learning standards through teachers' knowledge and understanding of state learning standards, use of learning standards to plan instruction, delivery of standards-based instruction, and assessment of students' progress toward meeting the state learning standards.
  • Published: July 2009
  • Research Type: Issues & Answers
  • Methodologies: Descriptive
  • Contact info:
    Melissa Eiler White 916.492.4057


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