Alternative certification in the long run: Student achievement, teacher retention and the distribution of teacher quality in New York city

Author/s: 
Donald Boyd, Erin Dunlop, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, Patten Mahler, Rachel H. O’Brien, James Wyckoff
Year of Publication: 
2011

A large number of school districts still struggle to hire qualified teachers, especially in subjects such as special education, math and science. However, over the last ten years the landscape of teacher supply has been dramatically altered by the substitution of alternatively certified teachers for unlicensed teachers in many school districts (Feistritzer, 2008). An increasing body of research has described the characteristics of alternatively certified teachers and compared their effectiveness on value-added outcomes for students and their attrition to the unlicensed teachers they replaced as well as to teachers from other pathways (Boyd et al., 2006, 2008, 2009a, 2009b; Constantine et al., 2009; Decker et al., 2004; Feistritzer, 2008; Grossman and Loeb, 2008; Kane et al., 2009; Xu et al., 2009). Alternatively certified teachers disproportionately teach in high needs schools and subjects. While results vary somewhat, these studies find that the students of teachers who enter teacher through highly-selective alternative routes experience better achievement gains than the students of the unlicensed teachers they replaced; comparable, or in some cases somewhat better, math achievement gains than the students of teachers from traditional preparation pathways; and comparable, or in some cases somewhat worse, achievement gains in English language arts than the students of teachers from traditional preparation pathways. This research also finds that alternatively certified teachers are more likely to leave their initial schools and districts than traditionally prepared teachers.

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APA Citation

Boyd, D., Dunlop, E., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Mahler, P., O'Brien, R., & Wyckoff, J. (2011). Alternative certification in the long run: Student achievement, teacher retention and the distribution of teacher quality in New York city.