Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
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 Louisiana's alternate routes do not exceed those for traditional preparation programs, the state does require evidence of subject-matter knowledge and allows flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Louisiana offers three alternate routes to certification: Practitioner Teacher Alternate Certification Program, Master's Degree Alternate Certification Program and Certification-Only Alternate Certification Program.
The state requires candidates to all of the alternate routes to have a minimum GPA. Candidates in the Practitioner Teacher Program and the Certification-Only Program are required to have a minimum 2.5 GPA if applying to a private provider, or a 2.2 minimum GPA if applying to a college or university program. Master's Degree Program applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
All three routes require applicants to pass a basic skills test and a subject-matter test. The state will accept equivalent scores on the SAT or ACT in lieu of the basic skills requirement. Neither a major nor a coursework equivalent is required, except in cases where a subject-matter test does not exist. Such candidates must demonstrate content knowledge through 31 semester hours of coursework in that specific area.
Louisiana Education Code 28.231 https://www.teachlouisiana.net/Prospect.aspx?PageID=605
Increase academic requirements for admission.
While a minimum GPA requirement is a first step toward ensuring that candidates are of good academic standing, the current standard of 2.5 does not serve as a sufficient indicator 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. It is particularly problematic that the state allows a lower standard for college or university programs than it requires for private providers. The state should require a consistent indicator of above-average academic performance whether the program is run by a private provider or by a college or university. Some accommodation in this standard may be appropriate for career changers. 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.
Eliminate basic skills test requirement.
Louisiana is commended for requiring all applicants to demonstrate content knowledge on a subject-matter test. However, the state's requirement that alternate route candidates pass a basic skills test is impractical and ineffectual. 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.
Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.