Feelings of Preparedness Among Alternatively Certified Teachers: What is the Role of Program Features?

Feb. 01, 2012

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 63(1), p. 23-38. January/February 2012.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examines the extent to which program features relate to new teacher feelings of preparedness.

Research Questions
The author addresses to three main research questions:
1) Are there differences in the personal characteristics of 1st-year alternatively and traditionally certified teachers?
2) Do alternatively certified teachers feel less well prepared than their traditionally certified counterparts?
3) Do alternatively certified teachers whose certification programs have certain features (such as certain types of coursework or longer field experiences) feel better prepared than teachers whose programs do not have these features?


The author analyzed data from the Public School Teacher Questionnaire of the 2003-2004 SASS.
The SASS is a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of more than 40,000 teachers that is administered approximately every 4 years by the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

There were three main certification routes:
the traditional route (TC),
the alternative route (AC), and
the waiver route (neither TC nor AC).

The final sample of approximately 1,690 1st-year teachers included the teachers who had pursued either a TC (n ≈ 1,220) or an AC (n ≈ 470) route.

Discussion and Implications

 The findings reveal that alternatively certified teachers are found to feel somewhat less well prepared than traditionally certified teachers.

The results also show that 1st-year teachers who have fewer types of education coursework and shorter field experiences feel less well prepared than teachers whose pedagogical preparation is more complete.

However, the results also suggest that AC programs that recruit teachers and provide abbreviated preservice education, but do not continue the initial teacher education into the 1st year, will yield beginning teachers who do not feel well prepared.

Finally, these findings confirm that administrators of teacher education programs should continue to seek ways to include topics on instructional methods, learning theory, developmental psychology, and adapting curriculum in their course offerings.

Updated: Jul. 08, 2013