An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification
Students with an alternatively certified teacher did no worse on achievement tests than students whose teacher came through the traditional route. Other findings include:
- Students of alternatively certified teachers who were taking coursework while teaching scored lower in math than students of their traditionally certified counterparts.
- The total amount of instruction required varied in both types of programs. Total hours required by alternative certification programs varied by state and ranged from 75 to 795, and by traditional programs, from 240 to 1,380. Not all alternative programs require fewer hours of coursework than traditional programs.
- Most alternatively certified teachers completed some of their coursework before entering the classroom, although this varied by state.
- Average scores on college entrance exams, selectivity of the college awarding the bachelor’s degree, and level of educational attainment were similar for alternative and traditionally certified teachers. Alternatively certified teachers were more likely to identify themselves as black and less likely to identify themselves as white. They were also less likely to have majored in education, more likely to have been engaged in coursework while teaching, and more likely to have had a mentor during their first year.
Mathematica’s random assignment study of alternative routes to teacher certification tracked 2,600 students in 63 schools in 20 medium and large school districts in 7 states during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years; focused on less selective alternative certification programs producing large numbers of teachers in a range of school districts, from rural to urban; and collected detailed data on coursework requirements and content from 80 teacher training programs. Researchers found no statistically significant difference in reading or math achievement for students placed in a classroom with traditionally or alternatively certified teachers. They also found no association between greater amounts of teacher training coursework and effectiveness in the classroom and no evidence that the content of coursework correlated with teacher effectiveness.