Experts Recommend Approval of 16 ULS Alternative Teacher Certification Programsv

Experts Recommend Approval of 16 ULS Alternative Teacher Certification Programsv – Jan 17, 2002

ULM Programs Recommended for Approval Without Stipulations
Reports available online at

A special team of experts working for the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission no Teacher Quality today recommended approval of all 16 proposed alternative teacher certification programs to be offered by the eight institutions in the University of Louisiana System (ULS).

“This is great news that all of our universities’ programs were recommended for approval after months of close scrutiny by external evaluators,” said ULS President Dr. Sally Clausen. “Collectively, these programs will offer 53 options, as early as this summer, for alternative teacher certification. This effort is critically important as we work to produce more high-quality teachers for Louisiana’s classrooms that are facing teacher shortages.”

Dr. Clausen said the recommendations of approval are important first steps in the state’s overall examination of teacher certification programs. “Our universities have worked hard over the past several months to ensure top quality programs. Today’s report affirms those efforts.”

The programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe earned approval without stipulations from the external evaluators. Seven other ULS universities’ programs were recommended for approval with stipulations. They were Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Dr. Loren Blanchard, ULS assistant vice president for accreditation and accountability, said he will work with the universities to make sure their alternative certification programs are even stronger when they are considered this spring for final approval by Regents and BESE.

Alternative teacher certification programs prepare non-education majors to teach in Louisiana’s K-12 classrooms. Person who enter alternative certification programs must meet several criteria, which include passing the reading, writing, mathematics and specialty content PRAXIS examinations required for state certification.

“These special certification programs allow options for professionals from other fields to become certified to teach. They often bring deep content knowledge and direct work experience to share with the students, and their presence helps to offset a troubling statistic that about 12% of teachers are teaching subject matter outside of their certification,” said Clausen.

More than 1,600 persons are enrolled in ULS alternative teacher certification programs. Last year, 333 persons completed the ULS programs. The 16 new programs are designed to attract even more prospective teachers. The programs recommended for approval today provide for options to ensure that the graduates know how and what to teach, depending on the grade level and content needs of the students, Dr. Clausen said.

Today in Louisiana, about 100,000 elementary and secondary students are taught by unqualified or uncertified teachers. Nationally, at least two million more teachers will be needed for classrooms over the next 10 years. Shortages exist especially in the areas of science, math, special education and foreign languages.

Commissioner of Higher Education E. Joseph Savoie said the evaluators examined the universities’ programs based on several criteria, including curricula, course descriptions, measurable objectives, materials, program assessments, field experiences for students, expertise of faculty and resources available to students. The programs also were gauged on how well they utilize the Louisiana components of effective teaching, standards that have long been used to assess new teachers.

“The recommendations enable campuses to address areas in need of reexamination in order to meet quality expectations as well as new state certification requirements. Based on what I have reviewed, I feel certain that when this process is complete we will indeed be approving outstanding new programs,” Savoie said.

The evaluators were Craig Frisby, Ph.D., University of Missouri; Martin Kozloff, Ph.D., University of North Carolina – Wilmington; Kathleen Madigan, Ph.D., National Council on Teacher Quality, and Douglas McLeod, Ph.D., San Diego State University.

Proposed alternative teacher certification programs at Louisiana’s 19 public and private colleges and universities were reviewed. The universities submitted their newly redesigned alternative certification programs for review in November. A two-staged review process was used by the external evaluators to assess written proposals and to conduct face-to-face interviews with key university administrators and faculty.

The proposed programs evaluated were the
· Practitioner Teacher Program, an 18-30 hour program with an intensive summer program, seminars in the fall and spring and an internship wile working full-time as a teacher
· Master’s Degree Program Alternative Path, a 36-hour master’s degree program for persons who teach full-time, attend the university full-time or attend the university part-time.
· Non-Master’s / Certification-Only Program, contains 15 hours of coursework and up to 12 hours of internship / student teaching; the program is designed for persons working full-time in careers other than teaching and who want to complete their coursework at a slower pace before entering student teaching and leaving their current jobs.

The Blue Ribbon Commission evaluators also will examine undergraduate teacher education programs this spring.

Dr. Clausen said the ULS colleges of education have focused on producing quality teachers at all levels. She said emphasis is placed on giving teacher candidates “real world” experience in K-12 classrooms before they graduate and providing coursework that is current and that can be adjusted to include the latest teaching methods and technology.

The UL System leads the state in the production of teachers, graduating more than 1,400 new teachers annually. In the last five years, the UL System has graduated more than 6,800 teachers and awarded more than 1,400 advanced education degrees.

The Board of Regents and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education formed the Blue Ribbon Commission on Teacher Quality in April 1999 to recommend policies that would lead to a cohesive PK-16 system to hold universities and school districts accountable for the aggressive recruitment, preparation, support, and retention of quality teachers who produce higher achieving K-12 students.


For More Information Contact:
Catherine Heitman