Study: Some ‘alternate’ teachers do well

Florida’s alternatively certified teachers have better qualifications but vary in classroom effectiveness, concludes a study in Education Research reported by Ed Week‘s Teacher Beat.

Georgia State researcher Tim R.Sass compared the growth in test scores by students taught by teachers certified by community colleges’ Education Preparation Institute (EPI) option, by district-run alt-cert and by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).  Then he added traditionally certified teachers.

Compared to graduates of Florida’s teacher colleges, alt-cert teachers “graduated on average from more competitive colleges, tended to pass the licensing tests on the first time, and had higher SAT scores.” They also had taken two additional science courses in college.

. . . The EPI completers tended to do worse than traditionally prepared teachers, or about 3 to 4 percent of a standard deviation lower. By contrast, the ABCTE teachers boosted math achievement on average by 6 to 11 percent of a standard deviation more than traditionally prepared teachers. They were only slightly better in reading, however.

District-certified teachers did about the same as traditionally trained teachers.

in a a 2009 study, ABCTE teachers performed worse in math, notes Teacher Beat, who adds that the sample sizes are small.