Students Scores Found Unaffected by Teacher-Training Route

From Education Week:

Students who have teachers certified through alternative-training programs do no worse in mathematics or reading achievement than students whose teachers have been certified by traditional teacher education programs, according to a study released today by Mathematica Policy Research Inc.

The study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, also found no correlation between teacher effectiveness and the amount of coursework that teachers received as part of their alternative or traditional teacher-training programs.

“Our bottom line is that when students are placed with teachers with alternative routes versus traditional routes [for certification], there’s no harm in terms of student achievement,” said Jill Constantine, an associate director of research at the Princeton, N.J.-based Mathematica and the project director for the study. She said the researchers based their findings on students’ math and reading scores on the California Achievement Test, a standardized test.

The Mathematica study compared students from the same schools who were randomly assigned to teachers from alternative-certification programs or regular teacher education programs. It tracked 2,600 students in 63 schools in six states.

Sixteen of the sponsoring organizations for alternative certification were colleges or universities, half of which also operate traditional programs.

The study found that the amount of coursework required by training programs varies greatly within alternative-certification programs and also within traditional programs. Alternatively certified teachers were required to take 75 to 795 hours of coursework. Teachers from traditional programs were required to take anywhere from 240 to 1,380 hours of instruction.

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