Report Roundup

How Strategic Teacher Pairing Can Boost Student Achievement

“Learning Job Skills From Colleagues at Work: Evidence From a Field Experiment Using Teacher Performance Data”

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

What's one potential way to help a struggling teacher get better? Pair him or her up with a teacher who's strong in that skill area, and give the two of them room to work together, concludes a recent experimental study.

The experiment consisted of seven treatment schools and seven control schools in Tennessee's Jackson-Madison County school district during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Using prior teacher-evaluation results, which are graded on a 1-to-5 scale, principals in the treatment group matched teachers who scored below a 3 on at least one area with a teacher who had scored a 4 or higher on one of the skills. After a year, the students taught by the teachers paired with a more-skilled peer scored higher than the average student taught by such a teacher in a control school, by about 0.12 of a standard deviation. And the effects persisted the following year.

While principals and researchers let the teachers decide how to work together, one thing seemed to matter: Improvements were strongest when a teacher weak in one area was matched with a colleague who was strong in that same area. The study was released last month as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Gates also supports coverage of college- and career-ready standards in Education Week.)

Vol. 35, Issue 23, Page 5

Published in Print: March 9, 2016, as How Strategic Teacher Pairing Can Boost Student Achievement
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories