Federal Report Roundup

Study Links Teacher Attributes to Effectiveness

By Stephen Sawchuk — November 25, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Districts and schools wishing to hire more-effective teachers could benefit from collecting a broader set of information on their candidates, concludes a new working paper by several well-known teacher-quality researchers.

The report, released by the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research, studies certain characteristics of teachers that are not typically examined by districts—such as general cognitive ability, content knowledge, personality traits, and feelings of self-efficacy—and tries to link those characteristics to better teaching.

Authors Jonah E. Rockoff, Brian A. Jacob, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger surveyed more than 400 teachers entering the profession in New York City in the 2006-07 school year and analyzed the subjective evaluations of those teachers and the math test scores of their students.

The survey used a number of instruments to measure the attributes, including a measure of teachers’ mathematical knowledge; a framework for assessing personality traits such as conscientiousness and extroversion; a commercial “prescreening” test used by several large urban districts; and an instrument to measure whether teachers believed in their ability to affect student learning.

Individually, those characteristics generally did not predict teacher effectiveness, but when broken down into cognitive and noncognitive skills, both categories were shown to have a modest, statistically significant positive relationship to student outcomes, the report says.

The finding adds another nugget of information to the long-standing puzzle about whether teacher inputs can affect student achievement.

It is also consistent with a handful of other recent studies showing that many teacher qualifications do not individually correspond to higher teaching effectiveness, but certain “bundles” of such qualifications do.

A version of this article appeared in the December 03, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
How Whole-Child Student Data Can Strengthen Family Connections
Learn how district leaders can use these actionable strategies to increase family engagement in their student’s education and boost their academic achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
The School to Workforce Gap: How Are Schools Setting Students Up For Life & Lifestyle Success?
Hear from education and business leaders on how schools are preparing students for their leap into the workforce.
Content provided by Find Your Grind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
vasabii/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Conservatives Hammer on Hot-Button K-12 Education Issues at Federalist Society Event
The influential legal group discussed critical race theory, gender identity, and Title IX.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix on Oct. 15, 2020.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was among a phalanx of conservatives addressing K-12 issues at a conference of the Federalist Society.
Matt York/AP