Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Alaska

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should provide an alternate route that is free from regulatory obstacles that limit its usage and providers.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Alaska results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AK-Alternate-Route-Usage-and-Providers-7

Analysis of Alaska's policies

Alaska limits the usage and providers of its alternate route.

Alaska's Transition to Teaching (AKT2) program is only available for candidates seeking certification at the secondary level. AKT2 candidates must be employed in one of the 15 high-need partnering school districts. 

This state-run program is the only authorized alternate route; consequently, the state does not support a diversity of providers.

Citation

Recommendations for Alaska

Broaden alternate route usage.
Alaska should reconsider grade-level and geographic restrictions on its alternate route. Alternate routes should not be programs of last resort for hard-to-staff subjects, grade levels or geographic areas but rather a way to expand the teacher pipeline throughout the state. 

Encourage diversity of alternate route providers.
Alaska should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.

State response to our analysis

Alaska recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

From a teacher quality perspective—and supporting NCTQ's contention for broad-based, respectable, and widely-offered programs—there exists substantial research demonstrating the need for states to adopt alternate certification programs. Independent research on candidates who earned certification through the alternate-route Teach For America (conducted by Kane, Parsons and Associates) and the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and ABCTE) programs has found that alternate route teachers are often as effective, and, in many cases, more effective, than traditionally-prepared teachers.  See also Raymond, M., Fletcher, S., & Luque, J. (2001). Teach for America: An evaluation of teacher differences and student outcomes in Houston, Texas. Stanford, CA: The Hoover Institution, Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

Specifically, evidence of the effectiveness of candidates in respectable and selective alternate certification requirements can be found in J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006). 

A number of studies have also found alternative-certification programs such as Teach for America to produce teachers that were more effective at improving student achievement than other teachers with similar levels of experience.  See Z. Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference?  The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009); D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009).  

For evidence that alternate route programs offered by institutions of higher education are often virtually identical to traditional programs, see Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (NCTQ, 2007) at: http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/Alternative_Certification_Isnt_Alternative_20071124023109.pdf.