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 Iowa's alternate route program does exceed the admission requirements of traditional programs, the state does not require evidence of subject-matter knowledge and shows minimal flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Since the 2009 edition of the Yearbook, Iowa has increased its minimum GPA requirement for the Iowa Teacher Intern License Pathway (ITILP) from 2.5 to 2.75. Candidates with a GPA less than 2.5 must meet additional criteria.
Candidates to ITILP are not required to pass a subject-matter test prior to admission to the program. ITILP candidates must pass a basic skills test and the "Star Teacher Pre-screener" assessment. The state will accept equivalent scores on the GRE in lieu of the basic skills requirement. Neither a major nor specific coursework is required; as a result there is no need for a test-out option.
Applicants must also possess a minimum of three years' successful work experience and participate in an interview process.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test for admission.
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. Teachers without sufficient subject-matter knowledge place students at risk.
Eliminate basic skills test requirement.
Iowa's requirement that alternate route candidates pass a basic skills test is impractical and ineffectual, although Iowa is recognized for allowing candidates to use equivalent scores to fulfill this admission criterion. 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.
Consider flexibility in work-experience requirement.
Iowa should consider using a candidate's years of experience as a factor in the admission process rather than as a requirement. Requiring a minimum number of years of work experience may disqualify potentially talented candidates unnecessarily. Recent graduates, who may demonstrate high academic ability and strong content knowledge but lack the minimum years of experience, would be needlessly excluded from the alternate route programs under this requirement.
Iowa referenced the Teacher Intern license in its response without elaboration.