Published Online: October 11, 2010
Published in Print: October 12, 2010, as Will the Real Effective Teacher Please Stand Up?

Will the Real Effective Teacher Please Stand Up?

What makes some teachers better than others? Well, it depends on which research study you happen to be reading.

A new study from the nonprofit Rand Corporation, for example, examines data from the Los Angeles Unified School District over a five-year period and concludes that there is little correlation between teacher effectiveness (as measured by student test-score progress) and any particular qualifications or credentials. That includes years of experience, education level attained, or licensure test scores. Even failing a licensure exam showed no “statistically significant link” to a teacher’s future effectiveness.

On the other hand, a newly published study by Duke University researcher Helen F. Ladd cross-checks North Carolina high school students’ scores on required end-of-course exams against their teachers’ records and finds that—hold on a second—teachers’ credentials matter quite a bit. Test-score boosts, this study finds, are associated with everything from whether a teacher has a master’s to where he or she went to college to how well he or she was scored on subject-area certification tests.

Glad that’s all cleared up. … Moral of the story: When it comes to improving teacher quality, make sure you check more than one source.

Vol. 04, Issue 01, Page 11

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