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Alternative Certification: A National Perspective

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1 Alternative Certification: A National Perspective
SELECT COMMITTEE ON LATERAL ENTRY Raleigh, North Carolina November 14, 2003 Charles R. Coble Vice-President, Policy Studies & Programs Education Commission of the States

2 What is a Highly Qualified Teacher? (as defined by NCLB)
Has full state certification Holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree Has demonstrated subject matter competency in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches - if the subject is a core academic subject.

3 What is a Highly Qualified Teacher? (as defined by NCTAF)
Have thorough knowledge of their subjects Know how students learn Can assess and increase student learning Manage classrooms effectively Care about the academic, social, civic, and personal success of all students Use technology effectively to promote learning Collaborate with colleagues, parents, & community members to create positive learning environments Are active and reflective learners

4 Why the Concern for Highly Qualified Teachers?
The NCLB Imperative: “Closing the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children, especially the achievement gaps between minority and non-minority students, and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers.” 20 U.S.C. § 6301

5 Why the Concern for Highly Qualified Teachers?
Workforce Skills and the Old Economy The premium was on a “strong back and a weak mind.” Workers were expected to be docile and tolerant of routine. There were low educational expectations and for “thinking on the job.”

6 Why the Concern for Highly Qualified Teachers?
Workforce Skills and the New Economy Employees are expected to think and solve problems on the job. Employees are expected to be able to read, write, speak, and have computational skills. Basic and advanced computer skills are expected. Employees are expected to work effectively individually and with others, often in teams. Volk, K. & Peel, H. “A Projection of 21st Century Workforce Skills”, Rural Education Institute, East Carolina University, 1993

7 Teachers Matter: Math Gain Scores in Dallas
Source: Heather Jordan, Robert Mendro, & Dash Weerasinghe, “Teacher Effects On Longitudinal Student Achievement” 1997.

8 Teachers Matter: Math and Reading Gain Scores in Boston
15 Least Effective Teachers 14.6% Most Effective Teachers Average 10 Student 5.6% Growth Over 5 One 0.3% -0.6% Year (percent) MATH READING -5 Source: Boston Public Schools, in “High School Restructuring,” March 9, 1998. (courtesy of The Education Trust)

9 Teachers Matter: Math gain scores Texas, grades 3-5

10 Teachers Matter for Low-Performing Students

11 Sources of Teacher Supply
New Graduates 6% Re-entrants 4% Teachers who remain from previous year 90%

12 Sources of Teacher Supply

13 Beginning Teacher Attrition Is a Serious Problem
Source: Richard Ingersoll, adapted for NCTAF from “The Teacher Shortage: A Case of Wrong Diagnosis and Wrong Prescription.” NASSP Bulletin 86 (June 2002): pp

14 Teacher Preparation Reduces Attrition of First-Year Teachers
% of teachers leaving after one year

15 Average Retention Rates For Different Pathways Into Teaching
Short-term alternative certification program (B.A. and summer training) Four-year program (B.A. in subject field or education) Five-year program (B.A. in subject field and M.A. education) Source: No Dream Denied A Pledge to America's Children. National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, January, 2003.

16 The Relationship between California Elementary School API Scores, Student Socioeconomic Status, and Teacher Qualifications, 2000 It's important to note that while inexperienced teachers may be responsible for poor student achievement, it's also possible that factors of school climate, etc. are significant and may also make it difficult for teachers to be effective. So, the correlation you show here is not necessarily a causal relationship. Source: No Dream Denied A Pledge to America's Children. National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, January, 2003.

17 Trends in Starting Salaries Across Professions
United States,

18 The Teachers We Want Do we find them or prepare them and do we focus on… Individual talent or Preparation ? Content knowledge or Pedagogy ? Focus on outcomes or Focus on inputs ? Alternative or Traditional programs ?

19 The Teachers We Want The choices are not a real choices, but:
Higher education must build more developmentally appropriate and accessible entry routes into teaching States must develop better policies and programs that support the success of teachers regardless of entry route

20 Significant Growth in Alternative Licensure
Approximately 200,000 alternative certifications granted since 1985 A significant increase in alternative certifications began in the mid-1990s Since 1998, approximately 25,000 people per year were certified through alternative routes Source: The National Center for Education Information, An estimated 200,000 people have been certified to teach through alternative routes since 1985, with most of the growth occurring since the mid-1990s. Within the last five years, approximately 25,000 people, per year, have been certified to teach through alternative routes.

21 Which States Offer Alternative Licensure/Certification Programs?
Yes (45 states* and DC) No (5 states) In 1983, only eight states (NCEI data) offered alternative routes to teaching for candidates who had not completed a traditional teacher education program. As of 2003, 46 states and the District of Columbia have some type of alternative route for certifying elementary and secondary teaching. In addition, several states have more than one alternative program, for example: Alabama (2) California (2) Colorado (2) Connecticut (2) Hawaii (2), strictly for special education teacher candidates Kentucky (6) Minnesota (4) Source: ECS State Teacher Preparation Policy Database, West Virginia ---allows institutions of higher education to offer alternative certification programs, however, no institutions have currently implemented a program. Source: ECS State Teacher Preparation Policy Database,

22 Types of Alternative Programs
University Based: Southeastern Louisiana University Master of Arts in Teaching program; Project ACT, East Carolina University University System: CalTeach (CSU) and NC TEACH (UNC) primarily recruit mid-career professionals Community Colleges: BS degree-completion programs (Miami-Dade & St. Petersburg CC) ; 2+2 degree completion programs (NCCC-UNC) Southeastern Louisiana University Master of Arts in Teaching program for college graduates with non-education backgrounds to become certified teachers;

23 Types of Alternative Programs
State Sponsored: New Jersey enacted legislation to create alternative certification in 1984. District Based: the Alternative Certification Program by the Houston Independent School District Federal: Troops To Teachers Independent: Teach for America; the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence New Jersey enacted legislation for alternative certification in Many other states now fund alternative programs. 800 teachers hired each year since 1995 through the Alternative Certification Program by the Houston Independent School District Teach for America, initiated in 1989, recruits liberal arts graduates into two-year teaching contracts in selected urban and rural areas; the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence received a $35 million multi-year grant from the USDE to develop Passport licensure exams

24 Who Enrolls in Alternative Programs?
California: 53 alternative programs have certified over 10,000 teachers; 48% ethnic, 29% male; retention for the first 5 years was 86% New Jersey: 20-25% of all new teachers hired are from its alternative programs; they are older & more ethnically diverse Texas: 27 alternative teacher certification programs produce over 14% of new teachers hired; 41% are minority C. Emily Feistritzer, President,National Center for Education Information, 1999 What subjects or areas of alternative licensure seem to predominate across the country? Secondary subjects, especially math and science. Note: Programs vary widely from state to state. Some programs, such as Michigan's Alternative Route to Teacher Certification (MARTC), may only prepare teachers for certification/endorsement in areas where a critical need exists as identified by a school district or consortium of school districts and verified by the appropriate teacher bargaining organization(s) to assure that there is no existing pool of appropriately certified teachers. Some states that have implemented alternative programs do not authorize programs to prepare candidates for the field of special education, including New Jersey. Pennsylvania's Teacher Intern Certification Program was established to attract minorities and mid-level executives near retirement into the teaching profession. The program also enables long-term substitute teachers to obtain certification and focuses on urban classrooms and shortage areas, including mathematics and science. Program participants must meet the same program criteria for completion, as well as pass the same number and type of Praxis assessments, as traditional route teacher candidates. Source: ECS State Teacher Preparation Policy Database,

25 How Should "Alternative Licensure" be Defined?
“There is – or ought to be – a distinction made between alternative licensure and alternative routes to licensure. The latter concerns the preparation program path a candidate takes to become licensed, but there is no difference between the license this person receives as a beginning teacher and that of a more traditionally prepared teacher. The former implies a different set of criteria applied to grant licensure to an alternative candidate.” Michael Allen, Project Director, ECS Teaching Quality Policy Center ECS defines as those in which teacher candidates are appointed as the teacher-of-record in a classroom after an initial training period of six months or less or are appointed as the teacher-of-record without initial training while enrolled in a collateral teacher preparation program.

26 NCLB & Alternative Route Programs
Teachers not fully certified, but participating in alternative route licensure shall be considered “highly-qualified” if they: receive high-quality professional development that is sustained, intensive, and classroom-focused in order to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction before and while teaching; (2) participate in a program of intensive supervision that consists of structured guidance and regular ongoing support for teachers, or a teacher mentoring program;

27 NCLB & Alternative Route Programs
Teachers not fully certified, but participating in alternative route licensure shall be considered “highly-qualified” continued: (3) assume functions as a teacher for a specified period of time not to exceed three years; and (4) demonstrate satisfactory progress toward full certification as prescribed by the State. USDE, Improving Teaching Quality, Non-Regulatory Guidance, Revised Draft, September 12, 2003

28 Why the Increase in Alternatively-Licensed Teachers?
While there may not be an overall shortage of teachers generally - nationally there is a shortage of math, science, bilingual education, and special education teachers. A number of alternative route programs have been set up specifically to recruit and prepare people to teach in these fields.

29 Why the Increase in Alternatively-Licensed Teachers?
"The simultaneous occurrence of the bad economy and the Sept. 11 attacks which made people sit up and rethink their lives, has certainly contributed to this trend." Emily Feistritzer, President of the National Center for Education Information

30 How Effective are Alternative Licensure Teachers?
Alternatively PREPARED teachers from good programs can perform as well as traditionally prepared teachers – eventually - if (1) given good induction and mentoring and (2) solid collateral coursework while they are in the first year or two of teaching. Michael Allen, Project Director,ECS Teaching Quality Policy Center Alternatively prepared teachers are just as effective at the end of a year or two of teaching as traditionally prepared candidates

31 How Effective are Alternative Licensure Teachers?
Alternatively LICENSED teachers, on the other hand, may not be as effective as licensed teachers teaching in their field of certification. Michael Allen, Project Director,ECS Teaching Quality Policy Center

32 How Effective are Alternative Licensure Teachers?
Research comparing the effectiveness of traditional and alternative certification teachers has mixed results. For example: Lutz and Hutton (1989) evaluated the Dallas Independent School District's alternative certification program and found that,of the 54% who completed the intern year, that supervisors’ perceptions were positive. The Texas Education Agency evaluation reported (traditionally trained) beginning teachers as more knowledgeable than alternative teachers. Schram, Feiman-Nemser, and Ball (1990) did not find any significant difference between the two groups. Source: Alternative Teacher Certification--An Update (1991), The evidence seems to suggest that the short term (up to five years) retention rate of alternatively prepared teachers is every bit as good as that of traditionally prepared teachers. (Again, this is alternatively PREPARED, not alternatively LICENSED.) Moreover, here again, if alternatively prepared teachers are placed disproportionately in at-risk schools in under-resourced districts that may not have any induction or mentoring programs, one could hardly expect their retention rate to be as high as teachers with more comfortable and better supported assignments. There is some evidence to suggest that alternatively prepared teachers are more reticent than traditionally prepared teachers to express a confident commitment to be teaching for ten years, but that does not necessarily mean they won’t actually be teaching in as great a proportion as other teachers in ten years. Also, there are some alternative preparation programs that claim to have extremely high five-year retention rates – approaching 90%. This seems to indicate that the quality of the program and the continuing support for teachers in their careers are important considerations in retention.

33 Teachers Matter: Polar Opposites Agree
Linda Darling-Hammond and Checker Finn agree on two things: That smart, caring teachers can help students overcome background problems like poverty and limited English proficiency. That the sun will likely rise tomorrow! ECS Fall Steering Committee Meeting, Cheyenne, WY, November 1999.

34 State Data Collection on Teachers is Inadequate
Current state data collection efforts tend to be disjointed State databases often fail to provide a comprehensive, longitudinal view of teacher career paths. Few states collect data on individuals who complete an alternative teacher training program Data often is not available on a teacher's undergraduate major or minor or on undergraduate performance. Source: SHEEO, Data Systems to Enhance Teacher Quality, 2003

35 ECS Recommendations on Alternative Licensure
States with alternative route programs should: Provide solid induction and mentoring Require collateral coursework Give new teachers manageable placements Use incentives to get more experienced teachers to take the tough assignments Require rigorous data collection to aid in program evaluation for all alternative route programs States should feel comfortable pursuing alternative route preparation programs, but those programs need to be high quality and the program completion standards for their candidates should be no less rigorous than those who are prepared through traditional routes. Alternative route programs that can be very selective, that are designed to meet the needs of a particular district, and that provide solid induction and mentoring, collateral coursework, and a strong support network for their participants are more likely to produce effective teachers than programs that don’t do these things. Also, it would be far better for states to stop regarding alternative route programs as suppliers of teachers for tough schools and to give new alternatively prepared teachers more easily manageable placements while using incentives to get more experienced teachers to take the tough assignments. HOWEVER, states also need to recognize that alternative route teachers may struggle more in their first year or two than traditionally prepared teachers. This is all the more reason not to place alternatively prepared teachers in tough assignments. Indeed, since some recent research indicates that minority students are more dependent upon their teachers for their academic success than Anglo students, it makes it that much more important to give minority students highly competent teachers.

36 ECS Recommendations on Alternative Licensure
States should not: Regard alternative route programs as suppliers of teachers for tough schools Give new, alternatively prepared teachers the toughest job assignments Make alternative license program completion requirements less rigorous than traditional licensing routes

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