Alternate Route Preparation: Hawaii

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide streamlined preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers.

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

Analysis of Hawaii's policies

Hawaii does not provide guidelines for alternate route program requirements.

Citation

Recommendations for Hawaii

Articulate guidelines for alternate route programs.
Hawaii should establish minimum requirements for its alternate route programs to ensure that programs provide streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers. The state should articulate guidelines regarding the nature and amount of coursework required of candidates. Further, alternate route programs should not be permitted to overburden the new teacher by requiring multiple courses to be taken simultaneously during the school year. Hawaii should also ensure that programs can be completed within two years. In addition, the state should establish guidelines for practice teaching and/or induction to ensure that new teachers are supported in the first year of teaching.

State response to our analysis

Hawaii noted that the state now requires teacher candidates to complete 450 hours of clinical experience. Cooperating teachers meet rigorous criteria and the specific requirements of each State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP) for their teacher candidates.

Last word

The extent of the clinical experience requirement appears more consistent with a traditional student teaching requirement and not something designed specifically to give alternate route teachers exposure to the classroom before they become teachers of record. While it is certainly desirable for alternate route teachers to have a practice-teaching opportunity before becoming teacher of record, holding alternate route teachers to the same requirements for student teaching as traditional candidates is inconsistent with the intent of alternative certification.

Research rationale

For a general, quantitative review of the research supporting the need for states to offer an alternate route license, and why alternate routes should not be treated as programs of "last resort," one need simply to look at the numbers of uncertified and out of field teachers in classrooms today, readily available from the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, with U.S. schools facing the need to hire more than 3.5 million new teachers each year, the need for alternate routes to certification cannot be underestimated. See also Ducharme, E. R. & Ducharme, M. K. (1998). "Quantity and quality: Not enough to go around." Journal of Teacher Education, 49(3), 163-164.

Further, scientific and market research demonstrates that there is a willing and able pool of candidates for alternate certification programs—and many of these individuals are highly educated and intelligent. In fact, the nationally respected polling firm, The Tarrance Group, recently conducted a scientific poll in the State of Florida, identifying that more than 20 percent of Floridians would consider changing careers to become teachers through alternate routes to certification.

We base our argument that alternative-route teachers should be able to earn full licensure after two years on research indicating that teacher effectiveness does not improve dramatically after the third year of teaching. One study (frequently cited on both sides of the alternate route debate) identified that after three years, traditional and alternatively-certified teachers demonstrate the same level of effectiveness, see Miller, J. W., McKenna, M. C., & McKenna, B. A. (1998). Nontraditional teacher preparation: A comparison of alternatively and traditionally prepared teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 49(3), 165-176. This finding is supported by D. Boyd,  D. Goldhaber,  H. Lankford, and J. Wyckoff, "The Effect of Certification and Preparation on Teacher Quality." The Future of Children (2007): 45-68. 

Project MUSE (http://muse.jhu.edu/), found that student achievement was similar for alternatively-certified teachers as long as the program they came from was "highly selective."

The need for a cap on education coursework and the need for intensive mentoring are also backed by research, as well as common sense. In 2004, Education Commission of the States reviewed more than 150 empirical studies and determined that there is evidence "for the claim that assistance for new teachers, and, in particular, mentoring [have] a positive impact on teachers and their retention." The 2006 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher validates these conclusions. In addition, Mathematica (2009) found that student achievement suffers when alternate route teachers are required to take excessive amounts of coursework. See An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification at: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/education/teacherstrained09.pdf

See also Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (NCTQ, 2007) at: http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/Alternative_Certification_Isnt_Alternative_20071124023109.pdf.