Teachers Matter: Connecting Work, Lives and Effectiveness

By Christopher Day; Pam Sammons et al. | Go to book overview

three
The VITAE research: a synergistic
approach

Introduction

This chapter discusses the ways in which qualitative and quantitative approaches were combined within an integrated, synergistic design in order to provide a 'best fit' methodology for the research purposes of VITAE. The project was designed against a set of specifications in a competitive tender which defined its overarching aim as:

… to assess variations over time in teacher effectiveness, between dif-
ferent teachers and for particular teachers, and to identify factors that
contribute to variations. The Department wants to understand how
teachers become more effective over time.

(DfES 1999)

The specification demanded that, 'teacher effectiveness should be assessed in relation to outcomes'; that, 'robust and reliable quantitative data, and in-depth qualitative data from a representative sample of LAs/maintained schools' should be collected; and that the research should involve '… teachers at different stages in their career' (DfES 1999). The rationale of the study, set out in the original specification, was that:

Expertise, capacity, personal and professional biography, situational
and psychological factors, as well as the complexity of the pupils
whom they teach and changes over time and circumstances affect
teachers' effectiveness. Thus, any attempts to sustain initiatives aimed
at raising standards in schools and classrooms and to retain high
quality teaching are unlikely to succeed without a more comprehensive

-38-

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