The state should require alternate route programs to exceed the admission requirements of traditional preparation programs while also being flexible to the needs of nontraditional candidates.
While the admission requirements for Arizona's alternate route do not exceed those for traditional preparation programs, the state does require evidence of subject-matter knowledge and allows flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Arizona classifies the Teaching Intern Certificate as its alternate route to certification.
In the 2009 edition of the Yearbook, it was noted that Arizona required applicants to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for admission to the alternate route program; however, this policy appears to have changed. No requirement that candidates demonstrate prior academic performance, such as a minimum GPA, as an alternate route entrance standard was found.
In order to obtain a Teaching Intern certificate, all candidates must pass a subject-specific portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA). Arizona accepts this test as sufficient evidence of subject-matter knowledge and does not also require a content-specific major.
In addition, Teaching Intern candidates must complete three semester hours, or 45 clock hours, of a Structured English Immersion (SEI) training program prior to receiving the Teaching Intern certificate.
Arizona State Board of Education Policy R7-2-614, R7-2-609
Reinstate academic requirement for admission to alternate route program.
Arizona should reinstate its policy requiring that its alternate route candidates provide evidence of past academic performance. The standard should be higher than what is required of traditional teacher candidates, such as a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Alternatively, the state could require one of the standardized tests of academic proficiency commonly used in higher education for graduate admissions, such as the GRE.
Consider flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
Arizona is commended for allowing nontraditional candidates the flexibility to demonstrate content knowledge by passing the AEPA subject-matter test. Still, the new coursework requirement for Structured English Immersion does not allow for a test-out option. While the state is recognized for its attempt to include pedagogical coursework that may increase effectiveness prior to entering the classroom, Arizona should consider whether it is appropriate to allow candidates who already have the requisite knowledge and skills to demonstrate such by passing a rigorous test.
Arizona was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.