Comparison of Alternative and Traditional Teacher Certification Programs in Terms of Effectiveness in Encouraging STEM Pre-Service Teachers to Teach in High Need Schools

Anica Bowe, Maureen Braam, Frances Lawrenz, Allison Kirchhoff


Central to the debate regarding the effectiveness of alternative and traditional teacher certification programs is the question of providing high quality teachers for high need schools. The Robert F. Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, supports both alternative and traditional routes to teacher certification nationwide and has similar requirements for all teacher candidates. It, therefore, provided a unique opportunity to compare alternative and traditional programs in terms of their perceived effectiveness in encouraging potential STEM teachers to teach in high need schools. Data came from a comprehensive, mixed methods evaluation of the Noyce Program and included 434 surveys completed by Noyce scholars, and 19 interviews with school district representatives. Comparisons between alternative and traditional programs were made based on scholars’ demographics, affective characteristics, background experiences, and beliefs about teaching. Results demonstrated that Noyce scholars from alternative and traditional programs were similar in
27 demographic and most affective characteristics but different in background experiences and beliefs about teaching. Moreover, the data suggest that alternative routes might attract more candidates who are more likely to teach in high need schools.

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