Preparation for the Classroom

Alternate Routes Policy

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 through targeted and manageable coursework, as well as supervised practice teaching opportunities and intensive induction support that includes mentorship. This goal has been revised since 2017.

Best practices

New Jersey earns a "best practice" designation for ensuring that alternate routes provide efficient preparation that meets the needs of new teachers. The state requires a clinical practice-teaching opportunity as well as strong induction support that includes one-on-one mentorship for new teachers. New Jersey's alternate route candidates participate in manageable and targeted coursework, ensuring that they are well-prepared for the classroom but are not overburdened by excessive coursework while simultaneously teaching.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2020). Preparation for the Classroom national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Preparation-for-the-Classroom-93
Best practice 1

State

Meets goal 1

State

Nearly meets goal 12

States

Meets goal in part 12

States

Meets a small part of goal 15

States

Does not meet goal 10

States

Do states require programs to provide practice teaching opportunities prior to becoming a teacher of record?

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State requires practice teaching for all alternate routes.: DC, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MN, NC, ND, NE, NJ, VT, WA

Partially. State requires practice teaching but only for some alternate routes.: AL, AR, AZ, CT, DE, IN, KY, NY, SC, SD, VA, WI

No. State does not require practice teaching for any alternate routes.: CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NH, NM, NV, OH, OK, PA, RI, TN, TX, WV

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

Footnotes
AL: Practice teaching required for Alternate Class A candidates only.
AR: Some alternative educator preparation programs place candidates as teacher of record with a Provisional License, while others are in a supervised clinical practice as a culminating experience of the program prior to licensure.
GA: Clinical practice is job-embedded for GaTPP participants.
ID: Practice teaching requirement for TFA candidates only
KY: State-approved local school district training programs
MI: Candidates must have a field-based experience in a classroom setting, however, it is unclear whether this includes supervised practice teaching.
NV: School-based experience does not explicitly require practice teaching for alternate route candidates.
NY: No practice teaching required for Transitional C candidates
OH: Candidates are not necessarily practice teaching as part of the field experience requirement.
PA: Field Experience for Teacher Intern Certificate candidates does not necessarily include practice teaching.
RI: 5-week pre-service field experience does not explicitly require student teaching or practice teaching.
SC: Practice teaching requirements for TFA candidates only.
SD: Practice teaching required only for TFA teachers.
VA: Practice teaching required for TFA candidates only.
WI: ABCTE candidates are exempted from practice teaching.

Do states require intensive induction, including mentorship from experienced educators, for alternate route candidates?

2020
2017
Figure details

Yes. State requires intensive induction for all alternate routes. : AR, CA, CO, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, WA, WI, WV

Partially. State requires intensive induction for some alternate routes. : AL, CT, FL, ID, IN, MI, NE, NH, NM, VA

No. State does not require intensive induction for any alternate route.: AZ, HI, KS, MT, SD, VT

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

Footnotes
AL: The state requires all alternate route candidates to be assigned a qualified mentor, but does not specify any further mentorship requirements.
AR: TESS Novice Teacher Mentorship Program
ID: AA-CS candidates and Non-Traditional Route Candidates receive mentoring.
KY: Although the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTP) is required by policy, it was unfunded by the legislature in the 2018 Budget Bill and suspended until June 30, 2020 due to lack of available funds.
MI: The school district or public school academy in which candidates teach must provide intensive observation and coaching in a manner and to the extent prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction.
NE: Nebraska's TCP requires schools accepting candidates to provide a written plan for mentoring and supervising the applicant. The state does not provide guidance on the induction support required for Alternative Program Teaching candidates.
NH: Alternative 4 and Alternative 5 candidates are paired with mentors.
NM: NMTEACH pathway requires candidates to be mentored and evaluated by the school district for two years; no induction support is articulated for Alternative EPP Pathway.
SD: Minimal guidance offered on nature of state-approved mentoring programs for alternate routes.
VA: Probationary teachers work with fully licensed mentors, provided by school boards.

Do states limit coursework for alternate route candidates?

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State limits the amount of coursework for all alternate routes.: DC, LA, MI, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SD, WV

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

No. State does not limit coursework for any alternate routes.: AR, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MD, ME, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NM, RI, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI

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

Footnotes
AL: The state limits coursework requirements for candidates pursuing the Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF) or the Provisional Certificate in a Career and Technical Teaching Field (PCCT) to no more than 12 semester hours.
AZ: Alternative teaching certificates are valid for up to 4 years so long as candidates make adequate yearly progress toward program completion, but there are no additional guidelines regarding the amount of required coursework.
CO: 225 clock hours of coursework
DE: 200 hours of required instruction
MO: The state does not outline the quantity of coursework required of ABCTE or Doctoral Certification programs.
MS: TMI coursework is not specified.

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

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. Coursework is tailored to the needs of the new teacher for all alternate routes.: AL, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, LA, MD, ME, MI, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TX, VA, WV

Partially. Coursework is tailored to the needs of the new teacher for some alternate routes.: AR, CA, CT, IN, KY, MO, NH, SC, WA

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, MN, MS, MT, NM, TN, VT, WI

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

Footnotes
KY: State-approved local school district training programs and institute alternate routes list required coursework that meet the immediate needs of new teachers.
MO: The state does not outline the nature of coursework required of ABCTE or Doctoral Certification programs.
NH: No specific coursework requirements, but instead candidates are required to demonstrate various competencies.
NM: Teaching of reading is required coursework for alternate route teachers.
WA: Specific requirements are set based on individual basis for each candidate

Updated: February 2020

How we graded

5B: Preparation for the Classroom
 
  • Practice Teaching: The state should require a supervised practice-teaching experience prior to entry into the classroom as the "teacher of record".
  • Induction: The state should require that all new teachers receive intensive induction support that includes mentorship with experienced educators.
  • 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/semester hours or 40 contact/clock hours per year 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 new teachers, with an emphasis on classroom behavioral management (courses that include childhood development and psychology, culturally responsive teaching and learning, diverse learners, etc.) and pedagogy (courses that include curriculum, instructional planning and assessment; differentiated learning; etc.).
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 - practice teaching, induction, manageable coursework, and targeted coursework - are required for every alternate route program/pathway offered by the state.
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if three elements are required for every alternate route program/pathway offered by the state.
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if two elements are required for every alternate route program/pathway offered by the state.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if one element is required for every alternate route program/pathway offered by the state.

Research rationale

Teachers who enter the profession through alternate routes report lower levels of self-efficacy compared to beginning teachers who enter through traditional teacher preparation programs. Alternate route teachers are likely to be especially concerned about their ability to effectively deliver instruction, manage the classroom, and plan lessons[1]. Most new teachers—regardless of their preparation—find themselves overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the job. This is especially true for alternate route teachers, who may have had considerably less classroom exposure than traditionally prepared teachers[2]. States must ensure that alternate routes do not leave new teachers to "sink or swim" on their own when they begin teaching.

It is critical that all alternate routes provide at least a brief student teaching or other supervised practice experience for candidates before they enter their own classrooms. Field work and exposure to real classrooms offers a scaffolded opportunity for prospective new teachers to gain practical experience. Across areas of instruction, student teachers feel significantly better prepared after completing student teaching[3]. Access to highly-effective rated cooperating teachers in student teaching experiences results in pronounced positive outcomes for students of aspiring teachers[4].

Additionally, all new teachers need comprehensive and ongoing professional development even after they become "teachers of record.[5]" Effective induction programs go beyond the basics of new teacher orientation[6] and may include comprehensive supports, such as mentorship, common planning time with other teachers, reduced teaching course loads, and assistance from a classroom aide. Access to a mentor teacher with subject-area expertise and dedicated common collaboration time with other teachers of the same subject area are cited as the two most effective factors in reducing first-year turnover and improving job satisfaction and commitment[7]. Robust and consistent mentorship not only helps new teachers feel supported, but also improves retention and student outcomes[8]. Importantly, students' academic performance increases when they're taught by teachers who are highly engaged in induction programs with mentorship, as compared to students of teachers who are not engaged in such programs[9]. Induction programs should require new teachers, especially those who enter the profession through alternate routes with limited preparation, to collaborate with experienced and effective mentors who can guide them through what can often be a challenging transition into a new career.

Alternate routes must provide practical and meaningful coursework that is sensitive to a new teacher's workload and stress level. State policies that require alternate route programs to "backload" large amounts of traditional education coursework prevent the emergence of real alternatives to traditional preparation. This issue is especially important given the large proportion of alternate route teachers who complete required coursework in the evenings and on weekends while also teaching[10]. 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[11]. That is, while advanced pedagogy coursework may be meaningful for veteran teachers, alternate route coursework should build on more fundamental professional competencies such as classroom management techniques, instructional methods, or curriculum delivery. Alternate route participants' primary concern as novice teachers is managing the classroom, which should be a focus in required coursework. Furthermore, the curriculum for teacher training programs must be aligned to what beginner teachers experience in the classroom. Clear connections between theory and best teaching practices enable coursework to be directly translated into the classroom[12].


[1] Forsbach-Rothman, T., Margolin, M., & Bloom, D. (2007). Student Teachers and Alternate Route Teachers' Sense of Efficacy and Views of Teacher Preparation. Journal of the National Association for Alternative Certification,2(1), 29-41. Retrieved from http://jnaac.com/index.php/JNAAC/article/view/45/33

[2] 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

[3] Darling-Hammond, L. (2014). Strengthening Clinical Preparation: The Holy Grail of Teacher Education. Peabody Journal of Education,89(4), 547-561. doi:https://doi-org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/10.1080/0161956X.2014.939009

[4] Goldhaber, D., Krieg, J., & Theobald, R. (2019). Leveraging the student-teaching experience to train tomorrow's great teachers. Brown Center Chalkboard. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/05/20/leveraging-the-student-teaching-experience-to-train-tomorrows-great-teachers/.

[5] 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

[6] Wong, H. K. (2004). Induction Programs That Keep New Teachers Teaching and Improving. NASSP Bulletin, 88(638), 41-58. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f71d/e558a5e10724e31ba26d477057ef0272110b.pdf

[7] Ingersoll, R. M. (2012, May 16). Beginning Teacher Induction: What the Data Tell us. Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/kappan_ingersoll.h31.html

[8] Brody, S. (2017, November). A bright spot for PD—new teacher induction that works [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/blog/A-bright-spot-for-PDnew-teacher-induction-that-works

[9] There is no shortage of research that indicates the students of new teachers who receive strong mentorship have higher scores than those of new teachers with minimal to no or weak mentorship. See: Best Practices in Teacher and Administrator Induction Programs. (2016). California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. Retrieved from http://ccsesa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Best-Practices-in-Teacher-and-Administrator-Induction-Programs.pdf

[10] 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

[11] 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

[12] O'Connora, E. A., Malow, M. S., & Bisland, B. M. (2011). Mentorship and instruction received during training: Views of alternatively certified teachers. Educational Review,63(2), 219-232. doi:10.1080/00131911.2010.537312