Mathematica has a big new report out using a rigorous, experimental design that shows that students taught by teachers who came through alternative routes in general did as well on reading and math standardized tests as those taught by traditionally certified teachers. The study also found no correlation between the number of hours of coursework and student achievement.
One of the reasons this is a big deal is that most of the studies of alternative certification have focused on the “elite” programs like Teach For American and the New Teacher Project; this looks at a bunch of regular, state-run programs.
The study did find, however, that students of teachers in alternative routes who were also taking coursework while teaching performed slightly worse in math than their traditionally certified counterparts. Groups such as the National Council on Teacher Quality have essentially argued that alternative routes shouldn’t load up new teachers with coursework.
More than 2,600 students in six states participated in the study.
My colleague Mary Ann Zehr will have more up on www.edweek.org soon, so check back.
UPDATE: Find Mary Ann’s full story here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.