What kind of data does a state need to improve the quality of its teacher corps? And what resources exist to help policymakers snag those numbers and then generate solutions to problems such as lax teacher preparation and high turnover?
Those are the questions that a new Web site from the Center for Teaching Quality, based in Chapel Hill, N.C., sets out to answer.
The site, officially launched late last month as the Teaching Quality Data Systems Roadmap, bills itself as a “virtual clearinghouse of cutting-edge resources” for building systems that link teacher, student, and school information.
It also tries to disabuse policymakers and others of what it calls “popular misconceptions” about such databases. For instance, the site says, teacher-preparation programs often don’t have access to the data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of their graduates. Nor, it asserts, does “value added” methodology for assessing growth in student achievement linked to classroom teachers constitute a quick and easy way of rating those teachers.
The site, which is financed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is still under construction, outlines priorities for data collection and describes some real-life systems, including the noteworthy efforts of Illinois, Louisiana, and Virginia. It also takes a look at the teacher-data policies in 10 states.
The Web site is available at www.teachingdata.org.