Alternatively certified elementary teachers are as effective as those who took a traditional path to certification, concludes a Mathematica study for the U.S. Education Department. It didn’t matter whether the teacher prep program required many hours of coursework or just a few: Students’ reading and math scores were the same. However, scores were lower for students whose teachers were taking coursework while teaching.
The study tracked 2,600 students in 63 schools in six states.
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.
. . . 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 be black and less likely to have majored in education.
In U.S. News, Andrew Rotherham wonders why Teach for America is the target of so much vitriol. The young teachers are as good as traditional teachers — and one third stay in the classroom for the long haul, while others bring their classroom experience to other education jobs and endeavors.