Recruiting Effective Math Teachers: How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare?: Evidence from New York City
School districts often struggle to recruit and retain effective math teachers. Alternative-route certification programs aim to expand the pool of teachers available; however, many alternate routes have not been able to attract large numbers of teacher candidates with undergraduate degrees in math. In response, some districts, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City, have developed alternative programs with a math immersion component to recruit candidates who do not have undergraduate majors in math. Such programs provide potential math teachers with intensive math preparation to meet state certification requirements while, at the same time maintaining an early-entry approach in which individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation program can become qualified to teach with only five to seven weeks of coursework and practice teaching. Four years since its inception, the New York City Teacher Fellows Math Immersion program supplies 50 percent of all new certified math teachers to New York City public schools. In this study, we find that Math Immersion teachers have stronger academic qualifications than their College Recommending (traditionally certified) peers, although they have weaker qualifications than Teach for America teachers. However, despite stronger general academic qualifications Math Immersion teachers produce somewhat smaller gains in math achievement for middle school math students than do College Recommending teachers and substantially smaller gains than do Teach for America teachers.