Alternative Versus Traditionally Certified Teachers: First Year and Preservice Elementary Mathematics Teachers



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The purpose of this study was to examine differences between first year and preservice elementary mathematics teachers by certification route. First, the instructional practices of 90 first year elementary mathematics teachers were analyzed. Secondly, nine elementary mathematics teachers were interviewed concerning instructional practices. Finally, weighted effect sizes were compared to determine if differences existed between route to certification and correct responses to the mathematics portion of the Early Childhood-6^(th) grade Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) for every person who took the assessment during the year 2012.

First year elementary mathematics teachers (n=90) were given an online survey about instructional practices with questions covering the topics of Assessment Use, Performance Procedures, Communicative Understanding, Making Connections and Active Learning. The survey came from the Survey of Instructional Practices, Teacher Survey for Grades K-8. The first year teachers were grouped by their route to certification. The groups were Traditional-University Based, Alternative-University Based, Alternative-Non-University Based, and Post Baccalaureate. MANOVA was utilized to determine if there were statistical differences between the responses to the five question groups along with calculating the effect sizes. The data in the study demonstrated that there was little to no difference between the uses of instructional strategies in the elementary mathematics classroom of first year teachers, no matter their route to certification.

A cross-case study involving first year elementary mathematics teachers was then conducted. The findings of this study also showed that in a small sample, the teachers who were alternatively certified employed the use of manipulatives more often than the teachers who were traditionally certified and were also more knowledgeable as to why different strategies were important to use in the mathematics classroom when compared to their traditionally certified counterparts.

Data from all participants who attempted the mathematics portions of the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Generalist Early Childhood ? 6^(th) grade in 2012 were collected from the Texas Education Agency and were analyzed in two ways using the grouping variable of route to certification. First each question was treated as an independent study and analyzed by calculating the variance of the average proportion and then calculating the weighted effect size. For each question, the weighted effect sizes were compared using analog to the analysis of variance. The weighted effect sizes from the data from the Texas Education Agency on the 2012 mathematics portion of the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards, Generalists Early Childhood ? 6^(th) grade pointed out that preservice elementary mathematics teachers from alternative routes were outperformed by their traditionally certified colleagues in the areas of Mathematical Instruction, Number Concepts and Operations, Patterns and Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, Probability and Statistics, and Mathematical Processes.