The landmark study, “Equality of Educational Opportunity,” which turns 50 years old this weekend, was one of the first to attempt to quantify teacher quality.
Johns Hopkins University researcher James S. Coleman created a 30-item fill-in-the-blank test of verbal ability to go along with the questionnaire sent to teachers in the study. The research team compared average performance by teachers in primarily white and black schools throughout the country. You can compare your own performance using the excerpt from the original test below:
Though the study did provide insight on teachers’ backgrounds, education, and racial attitudes, co-author James McPartland, also of Johns Hopkins, said the study lacked much insight into differences in real teacher practices.
“There was very little on instruction ... how do you teach reading comprehension, how do you teach math problem-solving, all the nitty-gritty of how you engage kids’ minds and energies in a classroom,” said McPartland, executive director of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins. “I myself believe it’s all about how lessons are organized and kids are involved in their activities.”
- 50 Years Seeking Equality: The Coleman Report
- Equality of Educational Opportunity: An Interview with Jim McPartland
- So Coleman Was Right About Teachers. Has It Helped?
- James Coleman, Author of Landmark Education Studies, Dies
- Oregon’s ‘Equity Lens’ Frames Schools’ Take on Bias
- Race Report’s Influence Felt 40 Years Later
A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.