Preparation for the Classroom

2017 Alternate Routes Policy

2017 Goals for Preparation for the Classroom

The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide efficient preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers, as well as intensive induction support. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.

Best practices

Delaware and New Jersey earn "best practice" designations for ensuring that alternate routes provide efficient preparation that meets the needs of new teachers. Both states require a manageable number of credit hours and relevant coursework. Delaware and New Jersey also ensure that new teachers are adequately prepared and supported to facilitate success in the classroom by providing for intensive induction supports and a practice-teaching opportunity.

Best practice 2

States

Meets goal 0

States

Nearly meets goal 2

States

Meets goal in part 23

States

Meets a small part of goal 18

States

Does not meet goal 6

States

Do states limit coursework for alternate route candidates?

2017
2015
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Figure details

Yes. State limits the amount of coursework for all alternate routes.: CO, DE, NJ, OH, PA, SD

Partially. State limits the amount of coursework for some alternate routes. : AL, CA, CT, IN, MS, NY, SC, VA

No. State does not limit coursework for any alternate routes.: AR, AZ, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, NV, OK, RI, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV

Not applicable. No alternate routes offered.: AK, OR, WY

Do states require intensive induction for alternate route candidates?

2017
2015
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State requires intensive induction for all alternate routes. : CO, DC, DE, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, ND, NJ, NM, WV

Partially. State requires intensive induction for some alternate routes. : CT, FL, IN, KY, LA, NY, SC, WA

No. State does not require intensive induction for any alternate route.: AL, AR, AZ, CA, HI, IA, ID, KS, MI, MS, MT, NE, NH, NV, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI

Not applicable. No alternate routes offered.: AK, OR, WY

Do states tailor alternate route required coursework to the immediate needs of the new teacher?

2017
2015
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Yes. Coursework is tailored to the needs of the new teacher for all alternate routes.: AL, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, LA, MD, MO, ND, NE, NJ, NV, OH, OK, SD, TX, WV

Partially. Coursework is tailored to the needs of the new teacher for some alternate routes.: AR, CA, CT, IN, KY, MS, NC, NY, SC, UT, VA

No. State does not require coursework to be tailored to the needs of the new teacher for any alternate routes.: AZ, CO, DC, HI, ID, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NM, PA, RI, TN, VT, WA, WI

Not applicable. No alternate routes offered.: AK, OR, WY

Do states require programs to provide clinical practice/student teaching opportunities?

2017
2015
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State requires practice teaching for all alternate routes.: DE, IA, KS, MA, MD, MI, NE, NJ, RI, WA, WI

Partially. State requires practice teaching but only for some alternate routes.: AL, AR, CT, DC, HI, ID, IN, KY, LA, NC, NM, NY, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT

No. State does not require practice teaching for any alternate routes.: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NH, NV, OH, OK, PA, TX, UT, WV

Not applicable. No alternate routes offered.: AK, OR, WY

How we graded

5B: Preparation for the Classroom 

  • Practice Teaching: The state should require a supervised practice-teaching experience.
  • Induction: The state should require that all new teachers receive intensive induction support.
  • Manageable Coursework: The state should ensure that the amount of coursework it either requires or allows is manageable for a novice teacher. Anything exceeding 12 credit hours may be counterproductive, placing too great a burden on the teacher. This calculation is premised on no more than six credit hours in the summer, three credit hours in the spring, and three credit hours in the fall.
  • Targeted Coursework: The state should ensure that all coursework requirements are targeted to the immediate needs of the new teacher (e.g., seminars with other grade-level teachers, classroom management techniques, training in a particular curriculum, reading instruction).
Preparation for the Classroom
The total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn the full point if all four elements are required for all alternate route programs.
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if three elements are required for all alternate route programs.
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if two elements are required for at least some of the state's alternate route programs.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one element is required for at least one of the state's alternate route programs.

Research rationale

Alternate route programs must provide practical, meaningful preparation that is sensitive to a new teacher's workload and stress level. Too many states have policies requiring alternate route programs to "backload" large amounts of traditional education coursework, thereby preventing the emergence of real alternatives to traditional preparation. This issue is especially important given the large proportion of alternate route teachers who complete this coursework while teaching. Alternate route teachers often have to deal with the stresses of beginning to teach while also completing required coursework in the evenings and on weekends.[1] States need to be careful to require participants only to meet standards or complete coursework that is practical and immediately helpful to a new teacher.[2] That is, while advanced pedagogy coursework may be meaningful for veteran teachers, alternate route coursework should build on more fundamental teaching competencies such as classroom management techniques, reading instruction, or curriculum delivery.

Most new teachers—regardless of their preparation—find themselves overwhelmed by taking on their own classrooms. This is especially true for alternate route teachers, who may have had considerably less classroom exposure or pedagogy training than traditionally prepared teachers.[3] States must ensure that alternate route programs do not leave new teachers to "sink or swim" on their own when they begin teaching. It is critical that all alternate route programs provide at least a brief student teaching or other supervised practice experience for candidates before they enter the classroom, as well as ongoing induction support during those first critical months as a new teacher.[4]


[1] Constantine, J., Player, D., Silva, T., Hallgren, K., Grider, M., & Deke, J. (2009). An evaluation of teachers trained through different routes to certification. Final Report. NCEE 2009-4043. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED504313.pdf
[2] Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498382.pdf
[3] Greenberg, J., Walsh, K., & McKee, A. (2014). Teacher Prep Review: A review of the nation's teacher preparation programs. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Teacher_Prep_Review_2014_Report
[4] For a further review of the research on new teacher induction, see: Rogers, M., Lopez, A., Lash, A., Schaffner, M., Shields, P., & Wagner, M. (2004). Review of research on the impact of beginning teacher induction on teacher quality and retention. Retrieved from http://www.newteacher.com/pdf/ResearchontheImpactofInduction.pdf