Summative Evaluation of an Alternative Teacher Licensure Program Sponsored by a Large Suburban School Division
The number of alternative licensure programs has increased significantly over the past decade. Faced with critical shortages of public school teachers in several subject areas, the Commonwealth of Virginia first approved an alternative route to licensure in 1998. In accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, school divisions must ensure that teachers are highly qualified and prepared for classroom teaching. While the majority of alternative licensure programs are sponsored by colleges or universities, the Commonwealth of Virginia allows school divisions to create alternative licensure programs with the approval of the State Department of Education. The purpose of this qualitative study is to determine the effectiveness of a school division sponsored alternative licensure program, in conjunction with supporting induction and mentorship programs, in (1) meeting a large suburban school divisions need for highly qualified applicants and (2) preparing second-career teachers for the classroom. Data collection included (a) individual interviews with alternative program graduates (n = 8), (b) individual interviews with school administrators (n = 8), (c) individual interviews with new teacher induction program coordinators (n = 2), and (d) a review of program documents. Study results found that the program failed in meeting the need of the school division for highly qualified teachers in critical shortage areas; but, succeeded in preparing program graduates for their first-year of classroom teaching.