Title page for ETD etd-10272014-143801

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Adams, YaSheka
URN etd-10272014-143801
Title Alternative Teacher Certification: The Politics, the Preparation, and the Promise of a Quality Education
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education & Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robinson, Petra Committee Chair
Bunch, James C Committee Member
Burnett, Michael Committee Member
Mitchell, Roland Dean's Representative
  • education reform
  • quality education
  • education
  • alternative certification
  • teacher certification
  • urban education
  • alternative teacher certification
Date of Defense 2014-10-22
Availability unrestricted
Alternative routes to teacher certification have increasingly gained popularity since the early 1980s. This increased attention is due to added focus on teacher quality and quantity. By participating in an alternative certification program, candidates are afforded the opportunity to obtain full teacher certification in an abbreviated time period. Completers of alternative certification programs are tasked with the same responsibilities as traditionally certified teachers.

A substantial number of adults are making the decision to transition into the dynamic world of teaching. There are numerous debates regarding the efficacy of alternative pathways. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the belief that alternative teacher certification aids in creating a diversified workforce. However, limited research exists on the level of preparation participants perceive they acquire upon completion of an alternative certification program.

The purpose of the study was to explore the perceived teaching preparation of completers of an alternative certification program as it relates to their preparation to teach diverse populations. This exploration focused on their perceptions of preparation in terms of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, curricular knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and personal practical knowledge.

This case study used qualitative research methods of data collection and analysis. Interviews were conducted with each study participant. The interview questions were based on Shulman’s (1987) Model of Teacher Knowledge and Connelly and Clandinin’s Theory of Personal Practical Knowledge. The interview protocol was divided into the following sections: (1) content knowledge, (2) curricular knowledge, (3) pedagogical knowledge, (4) pedagogical content knowledge, and (5) personal practical knowledge.

The study findings indicated alternatively certified teachers upon completion of their respective certification program felt very prepared to face the challenges of teaching any student who entered their classrooms. Although the alternatively certified teachers perceived their level of preparedness to be high, they were only marginally prepared to handle classroom management and building a connection with students in an urban school district. Although this study is based on completers’ self-perceptions, the findings from the study provide data on the effectiveness of alternative certification programs and offer a foundation for future research that extends to other regions, states, or geographical areas.

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