Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Vermont

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.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Usage and Providers: Vermont results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Vermont's policies

Vermont limits the usage and providers of its alternate route. 

Vermont's alternate route can only be used for certification to teach elementary education, 7-12 English, 7-12 Science, 7-12 Social Studies, 7-12 Mathematics, Art, Physical Education, Modern and Classical Languages, and Middle Grades (5-9).

Although the state permits school districts to operate Peer Review programs, it does not permit a diversity of providers to offer alternate route preparation programs.


Recommendations for Vermont

Broaden alternate route usage.
Vermont should reconsider grade-level and subject area restrictions on its alternate route. 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.
Vermont 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

Vermont asserted that it offers additional alternate routes to the Peer Review process. The state contended that it does not limit who can run an alternate route program. Further, the state explained that "candidates can apply directly to the state for Peer Review and that alternate routes are open to all endorsement areas except for those requiring an additional professional license (e.g. school nurse, school language pathologist)."

Last word

In previous editions of the Yearbook, as in this one, Vermont has disagreed with NCTQ's analysis that it limits the usage and providers of its alternate route. The state has not provided NCTQ with additional documentation to verify the state's response. No reference to other routes or providers could be identified in state statute or regulation.

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: