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.
The admission requirements for Montana's alternate route do not exceed those of traditional preparation programs and lack flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Montana offers an alternate route through the Class 5 Alternative License. This license allows nontraditional candidates to teach while completing a teacher education program.
Candidates for a Class 5 Alternative License are not required to demonstrate prior academic performance, such as a minimum GPA, as an entrance standard for alternate route programs. Candidates applying for an elementary Class 5 license must have 60 semester credits of liberal arts coursework. Secondary candidates must have 30 semester credits in the intended teaching field. All candidates must complete six credits of pedagogical coursework prior to obtaining a Class 5 license.
A subject test is not required, nor can one be used to test out of coursework requirements.
Board of Public Education Code 10.57.425 http://opi.mt.gov/cert/index.html
Screen candidates for academic ability.
Montana 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.
Consider flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
Montana should allow candidates to test out of coursework requirements. While the state is recognized for its attempt to include pedagogical coursework that may increase effectiveness prior to entering the classroom, Montana should consider whether it is also appropriate to allow candidates who already have the requisite knowledge and skills to demonstrate such by passing a rigorous test.
Montana declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.