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 Connecticut's alternate route exceed those of traditional programs, flexibility for nontraditional candidates is limited to select candidates.
The Alternate Route to Certification (ARC) requires all candidates to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree with a major in, or closely related to, the intended teaching field. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA or the same minimum average in 24 semester hours of graduate study. A waiver may be granted in some extenuating circumstances.
ARC applicants must also pass a test of basic skills. SAT, ACT or GRE scores may be used in place of the basic skills test requirement. Although Connecticut requires candidates to pass a subject-matter test prior to entering the classroom, it is not required for admission to the alternate route program.
Connecticut does not offer all candidates a test-out option for required coursework. However, select candidates in an identified teacher shortage area, currently English, mathematics, music and world languages, are able to demonstrate subject-matter knowledge through a passing score on PRAXIS II.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test prior to admission.
Connecticut should consider requiring the subject-matter test for admission to ARC. The concept behind alternate routes is that the nontraditional candidate is able to concentrate on acquiring professional knowledge and skills because he or she has strong subject-area knowledge. It seems ineffective to accept candidates and subsequently spend time training an individual who may not possess the required content knowledge.
Extend flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements to all candidates.
Although Connecticut is recognized for allowing shortage area candidates the ability to demonstrate subject-matter knowledge on PRAXIS II, the state should consider whether it is appropriate to allow any candidate who already has the requisite knowledge and skills to demonstrate such by passing a rigorous test.
Eliminate basic skills test requirement.
The state's requirement that alternate route candidates pass a basic skills test is impractical and ineffectual. Although the state does allow candidates a waiver based on a range of evidence, Connecticut should consider eliminating the basic skills test requirement completely. Basic skills tests measure minimum competency—essentially those skills that a person should have acquired in middle school—and are inappropriate for candidates who have already earned a bachelor's degree. Passage of a basic skills test provides no assurance that the candidate has the appropriate subject-matter knowledge needed for the classroom.
Connecticut recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.