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Alternative Certification. The Difference Between What You See and What You Hear. Marketing Genius. Want to Teach? When Can You Start? This billboard from a certain alternative certification program (ACP) boasts that aspiring teachers will quickly get a job and be teaching in a classroom.

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alternative certification
Alternative Certification

The Difference Between What You See and What You Hear

marketing genius
Marketing Genius
  • Want to Teach? When Can You Start? This billboard from a certain alternative certification program (ACP) boasts that aspiring teachers will quickly get a job and be teaching in a classroom.
marketing genius1
Marketing Genius
  • In fact, the billboard and marketing tools of this ACP and the ACP’s success at building their “brand” (the number of web hits and applications submitted) make it a “success” story for their marketing firm!
professional opinions
Professional Opinions
  • A high school principal commented, “I know I’ve passed on good teachers before, but I will not consider a resume from an alternatively certified teacher.” (K. Bradley, personal communication, 20 Oct, 2010).
  • A local high school teacher commented, “We want our teachers to student teach. We’ve had too many bad experiences with unprepared alternatively certified teachers to consider hiring an alternatively certified teacher who has not done student teaching.” (L. Waters, personal communication, 18 Nov, 2010).
problem statement
Problem Statement
  • As many parties seem to have a strong opinion on alternatively certified teachers, the purpose of this study is to determine the perceived effectiveness of secondary alternative certification teachers in their first year of teaching.
  • Alternative certification (AC) teachers are considered to be teachers who have an undergraduate degree in a field other than education, went through either a privately-owned or university-based program to obtain certification, and completed an internship.
  • Effectiveness is based on self-perceptions of: classroom management, curriculum knowledge, ability to create lesson plans and teach those plans, and time management.
  • Effectiveness is not measured by TAKS scores.
increase of alternatively certified teachers
Increase of Alternatively Certified Teachers
  • “A business called I-Teach Texas recently churned out more than 1,400 new teachers through an Internet-based program that requires no observation or teaching in schools. During the same period, the University of Texas at Austin prepared 142 new teachers, or approximately 10 percent the number produced by I-Teach Texas (U.S. Department of Education 2009)” (Baines, 2010).
growth of the alternative route to certification

(Texas Teachers of Tomorrow, 2011).

The ease in which teachers can sign up for and enter the classroom coupled with the number of teachers using the alternative route is a cause for concern as some questions are left unanswered and research points to varying results in terms of alternative certified teacher effectiveness.

Growth of the Alternative Route to Certification
why is this important
Why is this Important?
  • According to Sokal, Smith and Mowat (2003), “research shows that teacher education is a necessary aspect of quality instruction... some researchers claim that AC teachers have more difficulty learning to teach than do traditionally trained teachers (Barry, 2001; Shen, 1997).”
  • According to pre-service teachers, “their frustration with their inability to manage student behavior is left unaddressed by their co-operating teachers... as well as by their faculty advisors” (Sokal, Smith and Mowat, 2003).
purpose for investigating self perceptions of ac teachers
Purpose for Investigating Self-Perceptions of AC Teachers
  • This study aims to explore the perceived effectiveness of secondary alternative certification teachers, and in turn, shed new light on the measures that must be incorporated into alternative certification programs.
  • This study is significant in that it identifies an accurate self-perception of the effectiveness of AC teachers in the state of Texas and allows programs to equip potential teacher candidates with the knowledge they need most to be an effective educator.
study results
Study Results

Areas of Difficulty for First-Year Alternatively Certified Teachers in Texas


Student Perception

Lesson Planning

Classroom Management

Teaching the Curriculum

(Lott, A., 2011)

study results1
Study Results

Areas of Improvement for Alternative

Certification Programs in Texas


Hands-On Experience Required

Teach Realistic Scenarios

Age Level Specific

(Lott, A., 2011)

  • The teachers identified that they struggled most in knowing what and how to teach their students. Even though teachers passed the content area test, they didn’t know what they were supposed to teach once they got into the classroom.
  • About half of the teachers had an inaccurate perception of their students and this caused some classroom management issues. These teachers repeatedly mentioned that they were surprised by the immaturity of their students or how irresponsible their students were.
implications for acps
Implications for ACPs
  • The teachers repeatedly said that observations (before they actually had their own classroom) did not work.
  • Potential teachers need to have the experience dealing with the everyday classroom management issues, have an understanding of all of the different types of students that are in the classroom and instructional content, which can only be gained through hands-on classroom experience. Additional research is needed to gather information on how to accomplish this feat.
works cited
Works Cited

ACT Houston. (2011). ACT Houston. Retrieved from, L. (2010). The disintegration of teacher preparation. Educational Horizons, 88(3), 152-163. Retrieved from ERIC database (EJ887226).Hawkins, B. (22, Feb. 2011). Texas offers reasons for caution as Minnesota debates alternative teacher licensure. Retrieved from Interactive. (2007). Texas teachers. Retrieved from, A. (2010). Reflections of an alternatively certified first-year teacher and recommendations to improve alternative certification programs. Unpublished manuscript, College of Education, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.

works cited1
Works Cited

Ott, Adrian. (2010). TAKS: Texas assessment of knowledge and skills. A history of high stakes testing in Texas. Retrieved from, L., Smith, D.G., & Mowat, H. (2003). Alternative certification teachers’ attitudes toward classroom management. High School Journal, 86(3), 8-16.Texas Teachers of Tomorrow. (2011). Our company’s history and overview. Retrieved from Teaching Fellows. (2009). Texas teaching fellows. Retrieved from