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 North Carolina's alternate route do not exceed those of traditional preparation programs, the state is flexible regarding the needs of nontraditional candidates.
North Carolina Lateral Entry requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Candidates must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Those who cannot meet this standard, but who passed a basic skills test or scored above 1,100 on the SAT or above 24 on the ACT, can show a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major field of study, in all courses taken in the senior year or in at least 15 hours of coursework completed within five years of completing a bachelor's degree or higher. Candidates with at least five years of relevant experience need not meet either GPA standard.
Candidates must also have a major in the licensure area or have 24 hours of coursework in that core subject. Alternatively, candidates may demonstrate content knowledge with a passing score on a subject-matter test. Elementary and early childhood applicants must take the Praxis II subject assessment.
16 NCAC 06C .0305
Screen all candidates for academic ability.
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. Also, while some accommodation in this standard may be appropriate for career changers, requiring no evidence of past academic performance through multiple exemptions to this requirement is not sound policy. The state's effort to provide flexibility is laudable but should ensure that admission standards exceed those of tradition programs.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test for admission.
The state should consider requiring all candidates, including those with a major in the subject, to pass a content-knowledge test. 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.
North Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.