Wanted: Capable candidates who know their stuff

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When alternative certification programs first got started, the theory was that ed schools were driving away the very people who could make the best teachers – talented individuals with deep background knowledge of the subjects they would teach.

Thirty years later, it turns out that alt cert programs are by and large lowering the bar on who gets into the profession. And they generally provide very little feedback and support to candidates in their critical first few months of training to boot.

In our pilot study of 85 secondary alternative certification providers, only one out of 85 earned high marks (Teach For America, Massachusetts). Comparing their grades on what are pretty much the same standards to the performance of traditional graduate secondary programs (themselves fairly mediocre), it’s clear that alternative certification programs are not living up to their promise.

There’s no sugar coating the fact that alternative certification programs need to rapidly ramp up admission standards, expectations for candidates’ subject-matter expertise and the level of support and feedback they give to their candidates.

Find out more about our assessment of alternative certification programs here.