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 Vermont's alternate route do not exceed those of traditional preparation programs and lack flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Candidates in Vermont's Peer Review program must have at least a bachelor's degree with a major in the subject they plan to teach, or a strong liberal arts background if applying for elementary licensure.
Vermont does not require candidates to demonstrate prior academic performance, such as a minimum GPA. Peer review candidates must take a basic skills test, and candidates seeking initial licensure must take a subject-matter test, which cannot be used to test out of coursework requirements.
Screen candidates for academic ability.
Vermont 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.
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. The state should clarify that peer review candidates should not pursue an alternate route without clear demonstration of subject-matter expertise.
Offer flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
Vermont 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.
Vermont asserted that the Teacher Apprenticeship Program, Vermont Career and Technical Teacher Education Program, SPARK and the Upper Valley Principal Preparation Program are all alternate route programs operating in the state. Vermont also explained that "all alternate routes are held to the same standard as their traditional route peers."
The state contended that the Peer Review is not a preparation program, stating that "this assessment process assesses many factors beyond academic work."