Teachers who enter New York City schools through alternative pathways such as Teach For America and the city’s Teaching Fellows program are as effective as their traditionally certified counterparts in raising student test scores in mathematics and reading, a report says.
“Photo Finish: Teacher Certification Doesn’t Guarantee a Winner” is available from The Hoover Institution.
Released by the Hoover Institution, a think tank affiliated with Stanford University, the report uses data provided by the New York City school system, including test scores from the 1998-99 to 2004-05 school years for grades 3-8, the levels at which students take standardized math and reading exams.
Although the alternative-route teachers fared slightly worse in the beginning, the researchers found, they usually caught up with their peers who had received traditional training after the first two years.
The report concludes that school districts can improve student achievement not by regulating minimum qualifications for new teachers, but by selectively retaining those who are most effective during their first years of teaching.