Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Delaware

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


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

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Delaware results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Delaware's policies

Delaware's Alternative Route for Teacher Licensure and Certification (ARTC) is only available for candidates seeking certification in certain critical needs secondary subjects and K-12 Music and Art.

ARTC is a partnership between the Department of Education and the University of Delaware. The state requires National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards for approval of ARTC programs, precluding entities other than institutions of higher education from providing programs.

Delaware also authorizes Teach For America as an alternate route for all grade levels, subjects and geographic areas; however, this policy is set to expire in April 2012. If not renewed, the state would no longer meet this goal, as ARTC has both subject and provider limitations. 


Recommendations for Delaware

Broaden alternate route usage.
Delaware should reconsider grade-level and subject-area restrictions on the ARTC. 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.
Delaware should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. The state should also continue to authorize Teach For America as an alternate route provider. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.

State response to our analysis

Delaware recognized the factual accuracy of NCTQ's analysis but noted that proposed language that would allow nontraditional providers such as The New Teacher Project to operate in the state is designed to take effect October 2011.

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: