Magazine article District Administration

Quality Teaching: Reaching Your Goals

Magazine article District Administration

Quality Teaching: Reaching Your Goals

Article excerpt

Teaching quality is a hot topic these days because research shows that teachers have a greater influence on student academic growth than any other factor, including class size, ethnicity, location or poverty. Several researchers have reached this conclusion, including William Sanders. His value-added assessment studies in Tennessee show that the residual effects of teachers (for better or worse) can be measured at least four years after a student leaves the classroom, regardless of the effectiveness of subsequent teachers.

Yet defining and measuring teacher quality is no easy task. States and districts usually describe it in terms of teacher credentials; likewise No Child Left Behind defines "highly qualified" teachers as those who have met all state requirements for certification or licensure. Measuring teaching quality is difficult because most states do not have assessment systems that enable them to break out the effects of the school system, school and teacher over time, free of other variables that influence academic achievement, such as students' socioeconomic status and prior ability. This is the strength of the value-added assessment system used in Tennessee--a model that many other states are examining as they look to upgrade their own systems.

Improving the quality of teaching in your district, however, will require more than measuring it. A growing number of experts are drawing attention to the effects of the context or environment in which teachers learn and perform their work. The National Commission on Teaching & America's Future has recommended raising standards for teachers and students, reinventing teacher preparation and professional development, overhauling teacher recruitment, rewarding teaching knowledge and skill, and organizing schools for student and teacher success.

For districts looking to improve the quality of teaching, research offers the following guidance. Keep in mind that some of these suggestions will require long-term efforts and collaboration among the organizations that prepare hire and represent teachers:

New teachers need more targeted, sustained support than they are getting New teachers cite "lack of support" as their top concern, according to the National Education Association. "Many Schools are not organized to hire and support new teachers in ways that hell them enter the profession smoothly and attain early success," according to new research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A third of new teachers are hired after the school year has started, half do not interview with their future teacher colleagues as part of the hiring practice, and slightly more than half say they get no extra assistance as new teachers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.