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Understanding Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement

Understanding Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement

Author: Ashley Sweatt

In this lesson, students examine research on the impact of teacher quality on student achievement.

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Hi. My name is Ashley, and today's lesson is titled Understanding Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement. In today's lesson, we'll take a look at and see how teacher quality is measured. We'll also look at how teacher quality is related to socioeconomic status. Then, we'll look at teacher certifications and how they affect teacher quality. We'll end our lesson by analyzing the effects of teacher evaluation.

How is teacher quality measured? Teacher quality is measured based on the following criteria. Certification-- what endorsements do you hold? What subjects and grades are you certified to teach? Content knowledge-- what specific content knowledge do you have? Pedagogical skills and training-- what knowledge do you have about the development of students and how they learn?

Teacher quality is also measured by the rigor of the teacher program that is completed, scores of students, and the teacher's experience in the classroom. Research shows that teachers who possess these skills greatly influence achievement, which also increases the effect size. And this influence effect size is greater than the factors identified as the greatest predictive factors in the Coleman report of 1966 of race and parent education and home life.

How is teacher quality related to socioeconomic status? The quality of teachers vary from district to district. And unfortunately, most often, low socioeconomic districts usually employ the least qualified teachers for the neediest of students. Let's take a look at why this is the case.

The school districts normally offer low pay and cannot compete with other districts. There's also usually a limit of resources to teachers and students, which creates a challenging environment for teachers to teach students, which results in teacher burnout occurring at a much faster rate. The working conditions can be challenging, and training and development is also rare. And because of more lenient requirements, some teachers are not fully certified to teach the grade level or subject area that they are teaching.

In some cases, teachers have received an alternate route certification that lacks the rigor of traditional teacher prep programs. According to Linda Darling-Hammond in the Flat World and Education-- How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, the achievement gap should be much reduced if low-income, minority students were routinely assigned such highly qualified teachers. It's pretty clear that as the exposure to an ineffective teacher prolongs, it only widens the achievement gap, making it even more difficult for students to make progress.

How did teacher certifications affect teacher quality? Though No Child Left Behind requirements have been relaxed, reauthorization of No Child Left Behind may bring greater attention to the employment of highly qualified teachers. And also, with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is also known as ESEA, and Title II, which both mandate highly qualified teachers through the use of grant funding, schools will now have until June 2015 to submit plans that demonstrate that all students have access to highly qualified teachers.

Since employing highly qualified teachers will now be a focus once again, teachers who are working outside of their certification will be scrutinized. Teachers who have received alternative path certification can cause a problem, because the research shows that these teachers normally exit the profession within five years due to the schools they've been assigned to, which have low pay, lack of training, and unpleasant working conditions.

Standardized testing data from the National Center for Education Statistics explains that teachers who lack certification can negatively impact student achievement. Though alternate pathways with a concentration in content shows some close in the achievement gap, it cannot close entirely without the continuous use of professional development and experience in the classroom. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, teachers who come to the profession more certified burnout less likely than teachers who come under certified-- 49% percent attrition after five years compared to 14%.

What are the effects of teacher evaluation? The data from NCES, Hattie, Darling-Hammond, and MET show that evaluation systems support teachers, especially in the earlier parts of their career. Teacher quality greatly impacts student achievement, and for that reason, it is the school's most valuable resource. It improves teacher quality, which then impacts student achievement. It also aids in avoiding burnout by providing support to teachers in the areas of need.

So let's recap what we have discussed in today's lesson. Teacher quality is measured through a number of resources, such as certification, content knowledge, and student scores. In low socioeconomic districts, most often, less qualified teachers are hired due to the fact that they offer a minimum pay and sometimes have limited resources. With the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and ESEA, teacher quality will be a main focus to ensure that all students across all demographics have access to equally highly qualified teachers. And lastly, teacher evaluations avoid burnout among teachers, improve quality, and, as a result, impacts student achievement.

As you reflect on this material, review how teacher effectiveness is related to student achievement. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check up the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on "Understanding Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement"


(00:00 - 00:09) Introduction

(00:10 - 00:32) What Will You Learn Today?

(00:33 - 01:29) How is Teacher Quality Measured?

(01:30 - 02:59) How is Teacher Quality Related to Socioeconomic Status?

(03:00 - 04:39) How do Teacher Certifications Affect Teacher Quality?

(04:40 - 05:11) What are the Effects of Teacher Evaluation?

(05:12 - 05:56) What Did You Learn Today?

(05:57 - 06:20) Reflection

Additional Resources

Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence

This article by Linda Darling Hammond connects teacher effectiveness to student achievement. The research in this article is cited in her most recent text, The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future (2011).

Teachers Matter: Understanding Teachers' Impact on Student Achievement

This publication offers a review of research outlining the impact of teacher effectiveness on student achievement. It emphasizes the need to carry out teacher evaluation practices to develop highly-effective teachers.

MET (Measures of Effective Teachers) Project

This is the official website of The MET Project, a research partnership between 3,000 teacher volunteers and independent researchers. The project's goal was determine how to measure teacher effectiveness through evaluation in a way that could help teachers become more effective in turn.

Multiple Measures of Effective Teaching

This Teaching Channel video outlines how teachers can improve their effectiveness through observation, coaching, and student feedback. It is aligned to the MET Project measures of teacher effectiveness.