Pathways to Teacher Certification: Does It Really Matter When It Comes to Efficacy and Effectiveness?

Winter 2009

Source: Action in Teacher Education, v. 30 no. 4 (Winter 2009), p. 96-109.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The pressure to provide qualified teachers for all students has resulted in reform efforts. These efforts include the upgrading of credential and course requirements, as well as the proliferation of so-called alternative routes to teacher certification, which seek to create differentiated pathways into the classroom. In this study, the authors compared teacher candidates who followed three pathways leading to certification in adolescence education while attending the same university. A limited number of factors were held constant among pathways, and only factors inherent to the routes were varied. The dependent variables were (1) teacher effectiveness, as measured through Danielson's Observation Scale, and (2) teacher efficacy, as measured through Gibson and Dembo's Teacher Efficacy Scale.

Research Questions

The questions guiding this qualitative study were: First, what is the relationship between effectiveness in the classroom and the pathways into the profession, and how is this relationship mediated by other factors? Second, how do the pathways relate to measures of ?personal and teacher efficacy, and how is this relationship mediated by other factors


The original sample consisted of 83 graduate students attending the same public college in New York City. Because of missing data, the final analytic sample used in the regression equations consisted of fewer students (ranging from 66 to 71 students). All participants were solicited for participation during the last semester of their graduate studies and could be affiliated with only one of three pathways

No significant differences in efficacy or effectiveness were found, suggesting that the policy of offering a variety of pathways leading to certification might be one that produces similarly qualified teachers.


In sum, when given the appropriate support, teachers who have been in the teaching profession for about a year and a half and who become a teacher of record while completing their education courses perform just as well as teachers who followed a TP, have approximately one more year of teaching experience, and completed all their undergraduate education courses and student teaching..

Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. H. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 569-582.

Updated: Jul. 15, 2009