Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Oregon

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Oregon results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OR-Alternate-Route-Usage-and-Providers-7

Analysis of Oregon's policies

Oregon limits the usage and providers of its alternate routes.

Oregon does not have restrictions on the usage of its alternate routes with regard to subject, grade or geographic areas. However, the state does require districts to document that no traditionally certified teachers were available.

Oregon authorizes only local universities and colleges to offer alternate route programs.

Citation

Recommendations for Oregon

Broaden alternate route usage.
Oregon should reconsider the restrictions on its alternate route. The state should provide a true alternative path to certification and eliminate requirements that alternate route teachers can only be hired if traditionally certified teachers cannot be found. Alternate routes should not be programs of last resort for hard-to-staff subjects, grade levels or geographic areas but rather a way to expand the teacher pipeline throughout the state.   

Encourage diversity of alternate route providers.
Oregon should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve. 

State response to our analysis

Oregon asserted that no alternate route providers have applied to the state for approval of teacher preparation in the past 10 years. However, the state has approved a school district's request to prepare school counselors and is working with the Administrator's Association to provide administrative licensure. The state also contended that the Career and Technical Education licenses are alternate route licenses.

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: http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/Alternative_Certification_Isnt_Alternative_20071124023109.pdf.