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.
The admission requirements for Maine's alternate route do not exceed those of traditional programs, although the state is flexible regarding the needs of nontraditional candidates.
Nontraditional candidates must apply for one of Maine's two alternate route certifications: the Conditional Certificate and the Targeted Need Certificate.
Neither the Conditional Certificate nor the Targeted Need Certificate requires candidates to demonstrate prior academic performance, such as a minimum GPA.
Applicants are not required to pass a subject-matter test. The state requires that applicants meet specific coursework requirements for the area they plan to teach. Candidates may apply for a waiver that will substitute a passing score on a subject-matter test or experience teaching at the postsecondary level in lieu of the coursework requirements.
Rule 05-071, Chapter 115, Part I
Screen candidates for academic ability.
Maine should require that candidates to its alternate routes provide some evidence of good academic performance. The standard should be higher than what is required of traditional teacher candidates, such as a GPA of 2.75 or higher. 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.
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.
Offer additional flexibility in meeting coursework requirements.
Although Maine does allow candidates to test out of coursework requirements, the state should include this option in the regular admission standards for alternate route certification rather than requiring the additional step of applying for a waiver.
Maine contended that all applicants must pass a subject-matter test for full certification. Candidates may not apply for a waiver to substitute for a test or coursework. A waiver may grant additional time to meet a requirement, but it will not substitute for a required test or coursework.
NCTQ's recommendation regarding a subject-matter test is that it should be required for admission to an alternate route program. Individuals pursuing alternative certification should have their content expertise well established. NCTQ acknowledges that Maine, like most states, requires subject-matter tests for licensure.