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 New York's alternate routes exceed those of traditional programs but lack flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
New York offers two alternate routes: The Alternative Teacher Preparation (ATP) program-Transitional B and the Intensive Program-Transitional C. The ATP program-Transitional B requires applicants to show evidence of above-average academic performance with a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement. Transitional B candidates planning to teach at the secondary level must a have major, or 30 semester hours of coursework, in the subject they plan to teach. Elementary level candidates must have a liberal arts degree.
Applicants with an advanced academic or professional degree may apply for the Intensive Program-Transitional C Certificate. There is no minimum GPA requirement for candidates in this route; however, applicants must complete two hours of coursework on the identification and reporting of child abuse and two hours in school violence prevention and intervention.
All applicants must pass a basic skills test and a content specialty test prior to entering the classroom. The subject-matter test cannot be used to test out of the coursework requirements.
Part 52.21(b)(3) http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/spr/AlternativeTeacherCertificationProgram.htm
Offer flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
New York 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.
Consider accommodations for meeting the minimum GPA requirements.
While the state is commended for requiring applicants to provide evidence of past academic performance, New York should consider whether some accommodation in this standard might be appropriate for career changers with relevant work experience. 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.
Eliminate basic skills test requirement.
New York's requirement that alternate route candidates pass a basic skills test is impractical and ineffectual. Basic skills tests measure minimum competency—essentially those skills that a person should have acquired in middle school—and are inappropriate for candidates who have already earned a bachelor's degree. Passage of a basic skills test provides no assurance that the candidate has the appropriate subject-matter knowledge needed for the classroom. The state should eliminate the basic skills test requirement or, at a minimum, accept the equivalent in SAT, ACT or GRE scores.
New York reiterated that Transitional B candidates are required to
successfully pass a specialty test prior to beginning the classroom
residency portion of their teacher preparation program. The state
asserted that this test "is more than a basic skills test. It is a test
of in depth specific academic content knowledge required to
successfully deliver P-12 classroom instruction in the specific
academic content area."
New York also noted that in February and April of 2011, the Board of Regents discussed a proposal for a new alternate route to teacher certification, Transitional-G. This route creates an expedited pathway for subject-matter experts, specifically individuals with advanced degrees in STEM, and related teaching experience at the postsecondary level, to become certified high school teachers in mathematics, one of the sciences or a closely related academic subject area. Adoption of these regulations is anticipated in 2011.