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Is Teacher Effectiveness Linked to Teacher Training?

Is Teacher Effectiveness Linked to Teacher Training?

U.S. Department of Education

Every year, thousands of new teachers pass through hundreds of different teacher preparation programs and are hired to teach in our nation’s schools. Most new teachers come from traditional route to certification (TC) programs, in which they complete all their certification requirements before beginning to teach. In recent years, however, as many as a third of new hires have come from alternative route to certification (AC) programs, in which they begin teaching before completing all their certification requirements (Feistritzer and Chester 2002). AC programs have grown in number and size in recent years in response to a variety of factors, including teacher shortages and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which requires that every core class be staffed with a teacher who has obtained full certification or, in the case of alternative routes to certification, is enrolled and making adequate progress toward certification through an approved program.

Despite the expansion of these new routes into teaching, there exists little research to provide guidance as to the effectiveness of different teacher training strategies. The increased variation in teacher preparation approaches created by the existence of various AC and TC programs offers an opportunity to examine the effect of different components of training on teacher performance. For example, some AC programs require less education coursework than TC programs. We can exploit this type of variation to examine whether the form of training is associated with differences in teacher performance.

The potential advantages and disadvantages of the various routes to certification have been debated, and the amount of coursework required by AC and TC programs is critical to issues of certification and teacher effectiveness.

This study is intended to inform this effort by rigorously examining the effect of AC teachers on student achievement and classroom practices compared to the effect of TC teachers in their same school and grades. The study also provides suggestive evidence about what training and pretraining characteristics may be related to teacher performance.

Both the AC and the TC programs with teachers in the study were diverse in the total instruction they required for their candidates. The total hours required by AC programs ranged from 75 to 795, and by TC programs, from 240 to 1,380. Thus not all AC programs require fewer hours of coursework than all TC programs. The degree of overlap in coursework requirements between AC and TC programs in the study was dictated by variations in state policies on teacher certification programs. For example, in New Jersey all AC teachers were required to complete fewer hours of coursework than all TC.

Continue reading on the next page or browse the topics below.

Who participated in this study?
5 Important Findings about Teacher Performance & Links to Teacher Prep Programs
Teacher Prep Program Experiences for Both Types of Teachers (TC & AC)
Summary: How Teacher Prep Programs Impact Students & Final Conclusion

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