Teaching Profession Report Roundup

Harvard Study Offers Advice on Alternative Certification

By Debra Viadero — November 29, 2005 1 min read

The very incentives that make “fast track” alternative-certification programs attractive to teaching candidates can get in the way of program quality, a group of Harvard University researchers has concluded in a study.

“A Difficult Balance: Incentives and Quality Control in Alternative Certification Programs” is available from The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Since 2002, researchers from the university’s Project on the Next Generation of Teachers have been tracking an array of alternative-route programs for certifying teachers in four states: California, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Massachusetts.

While the brief training and easy entrance requirements offered by the programs succeeded in bringing new candidates to the classroom, those routes into the profession rarely offered recruits “more than a running start,” according to the report.

Still, the researchers maintain that it’s possible to reconcile the twin demands for convenience and quality, and they recommend ways that policymakers and program designers can do it.

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