Alternate Route Usage and Providers: New

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should provide an alternate route that is free from regulatory obstacles that limit its usage and providers.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Usage and Providers: New Jersey results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of New Jersey's policies

Although New Jersey does not limit the usage of its alternate route, it does place restrictions on providers.

New Jersey is commended for having no limitations on the usage of its alternate route with regard to subject, grade or geographic areas.

Although it allows schools districts to provide alternate route programs, the state insists that they partner with New Jersey-approved traditional teacher preparation programs or consult with these institutions in providing training. In the event that an alternate route provider cannot participate in a joint sponsorship with a college or university, the district or consortium may be authorized to provide formal instruction independently or in joint sponsorship with a non-college entity. Also, the specific requirements are articulated in terms of credit hours, effectively precluding non-higher education providers.


Recommendations for New Jersey

Encourage diversity of alternate route providers.
New Jersey should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. Districts should be able to provide training without a required partnership with colleges and universities. For example, districts may want to provide training in a specific curriculum, something that most colleges and universities are reluctant to do. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.

State response to our analysis

New Jersey contended that "although P-3, Bilingual, and special education alternate route programs are articulated in terms of credit hours, K-5 and subject area providers offer non-credit instruction and these programs may be offered by districts or specified private agencies."

Research rationale

From a teacher quality perspective—and supporting NCTQ's contention for broad-based, respectable, and widely-offered programs—there exists substantial research demonstrating the need for states to adopt alternate certification programs. Independent research on candidates who earned certification through the alternate-route Teach For America (conducted by Kane, Parsons and Associates) and the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and ABCTE) programs has found that alternate route teachers are often as effective, and, in many cases, more effective, than traditionally-prepared teachers.  See also Raymond, M., Fletcher, S., & Luque, J. (2001). Teach for America: An evaluation of teacher differences and student outcomes in Houston, Texas. Stanford, CA: The Hoover Institution, Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

Specifically, evidence of the effectiveness of candidates in respectable and selective alternate certification requirements can be found in J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006). 

A number of studies have also found alternative-certification programs such as Teach for America to produce teachers that were more effective at improving student achievement than other teachers with similar levels of experience.  See Z. Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference?  The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009); D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009).  

For evidence that alternate route programs offered by institutions of higher education are often virtually identical to traditional programs, see Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (NCTQ, 2007) at: