NSF grant supports conference on alternative teacher certification

The STEM Education Institute and the School of Education have received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to hold a conference on alternative teacher education next May.

The conference will identify key issues relating to the alternative certification of science teachers. In particular, the conference will focus on what needs to be known to incorporate the results of more than 30 years of research on science teaching and learning into alternative certification programs.

The principal investigators for the grant are Morton M. Sternheim, director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Institute, and Allan Feldman and Joseph Berger of the School of Education.

“By bringing together experts in science education, teacher education, and educational policy with educational administrators and policymakers,” Berger says, “the conference will help to shape the national conversation on the pros and cons of alternative and traditional certification programs for teachers of science.”

The conference agenda will include:

Providing an overview of existing policy on alternative certification of middle and high school science teachers in the United States;

Beginning a synthesis of existing research about the needs, methods and outcomes of alternative certification for science teachers;

Taking an in-depth look at existing programs and models of alternative certification programs; and

Identifying an agenda for further research.