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.
Missouri has four alternate routes: the Innovative and Alternative Professional Education Program, the Temporary Authorization Certificate, the Doctoral Route to Certification and the American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).
Missouri requires all candidates to demonstrate prior academic performance with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The Innovative and Alternative Professional Education Program, the Temporary Authorization Certificate and the Doctoral Route to Certification require applicants to have a major/degree in the content area, or a closely related field, for which they are seeking certification.
Applicants to the Doctoral Certification must hold an advanced degree and demonstrate subject knowledge by passing a content exam. ABCTE candidates are required to pass the ABCTE Test of Professional Knowledge and an ABCTE subject-area exam. The Innovative and Alternative Professional Education Program and the Temporary Authorization Certificate do not require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
ABCTE does not have coursework requirements for admission. There is no test-out option for candidates applying for the Doctoral Route Certification, the Temporary Authorization Certificate or the Innovative and Alternative Professional Education Program.
Missouri State Board of Education Code 5 CSR 80-805.030 http://dese.mo.gov/divteachqual/teachcert/certclass.html
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. 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.
Extend subject-matter test requirement to all applicants.
In addition to requiring ABCTE and Doctoral Route candidates to demonstrate content knowledge on a subject-matter test, it is strongly recommended that Missouri extend this requirement to all of its candidates. 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 flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
Missouri should allow any candidate who already has the requisite knowledge and skills to demonstrate such by passing a rigorous test. Rigid coursework requirements could dissuade talented individuals who lack precisely the right courses from pursuing a career in teaching.
Set minimum admission requirements for all alternate route programs.
Missouri should establish minimum admission requirements for all of its alternate routes. The state is responsible for setting policy that ensures that nontraditional candidates have the academic ability and subject-matter knowledge required to teach. The American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence program should feel encouraged to exceed these minimums, but without state guidelines there is no assurance that ABCTE candidates will have demonstrated the necessary aptitude prior to entering the classroom.
Missouri was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. Missouri also asserted that all applicants are required to take and pass both a content and a pedagogy test.
Missouri does require alternate route candidates to pass a content-area test to qualify for a professional classification certificate; however, it is not an admission requirement for alternate route candidates to enter a program. Alternate route candidates should demonstrate their subject-matter competency in advance of entering the classroom. NCTQ acknowledges that Missouri, like most states, requires subject-matter tests for licensure.