Tag Archives: Teacher Quality

Landmark California case regarding teacher tenure: Vergara v. California

1 Feb

People become teachers for many reasons. Among the top ten reasons to become a teacher are:

1. Student Potential
2. Student Successes
3. Teaching a Subject Helps You Learn a Subject
4. Daily Humor
5. Affecting the Future
6. Staying Younger
7. Autonomy in the Classroom
8. Conducive to Family Life
9. Job Security
10. Summers Off
http://712educators.about.com/od/teacherresources/tp/teachergood.htm

Because of the recession, many are turning to teaching as a career that might have employment possibilities. Although there may be job cuts as states and some locales cope with diminishing tax revenue, the education sector still looks good in comparison with other sectors. Information about teaching requirements can be found at Education Week Career Community http://resources.topschooljobs.org/tsj/states/

The issue of teacher tenure is important because:

There is no shortage of data that show a significant percentage of teachers leave just when they are becoming consistently effective. However, at the same time, too many teachers who have not become consistently effective achieve permanent status, also referred to as tenure.

The question surrounding teacher tenure is how to protect quality teachers from unfair termination?

What is Teacher Tenure?

A good basic description of teacher tenure as found at teacher tenure. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/tenure.htm James gives the following definition:

WHAT IS TENURE?
Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.
WHAT PROTECTION DOES TENURE OFFER THE PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER?
The type and amount of protection vary from state to state and — depending on agreements with teachers’ unions — may even vary from school district to school district. In general, a tenured teacher is entitled to due process when he or she is threatened with dismissal or nonrenewal of contract for cause: that is, for failure to maintain some clearly defined standard that serves an educational purpose.

Time has a good summary of the history of teacher tenure at A Brief History of Tenure
http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html?artId=1859505?contType=article?chn=us

What are the Pros and Cons of Teacher Tenure?

One of the best concise defenses of K-12 teacher tenure is from Cleolaf’s blog at Why K12 Teachers Need Tenure The reasons are:

A) The teacher shortage is not evenly distributed. High performing schools don’t have the same problems attracting teacher. High paying district don’t have the same problems attracting teachers….
B) This really comes down to the question of why principals might want to be rid of a teacher. I would suggest that any manager would want to be rid of any employee who makes his/her job or life harder. Ideally, this would only be low performing teachers, but that is a fantasy view.
Any kind of rabble rouser can make a principal’s job harder. …Obviously, union activists are already protected by other labor laws.
C) Academic freedom in K12 is not like in higher education, that’s true. But it is still an issue.
A teacher who tries to raise the bar in his/her classes can create no end of problems for a principal. If standards in school have been too low, and a teacher demands more than students are accustomed to, students and their parents can demand enormous amounts of principal’s time. This is a different form of rocking the boat, but can still be enough for a principal to wish to be rid of the teacher.
Principals cannot be experts on everything. Once, when teaching high school English, my principal as a former middle school math teacher. He insisted that I as an English teacher, “not worry about critical and analytical thinking” and “just teach English.” Though he had no training or experience with high school English, he had ideas about what it meant. He did not approve of the fact that I was spending as much time on teaching my student how to reason as on the mechanics of writing. …
Another principal might be an old school traditionalist and insist that English classes only be about books. He might not approve of using film or video to teach about theme, plot, symbolism, character development, story arcs, allegory and any of the rest. But a teacher might feel that this would be the best way for students to learn these lessons….
No, we don’t need tenure if principals can be counted on to make good decisions in the best interests of children. But they are human, and therefore often make decisions in their own interests. Moreover, we have a real shortage of high quality principals, even as we are breaking up large schools into multiple small schools and opening up charter schools….
I do not suggest that there are not problems with our tenure system. A lot falls to principals, perhaps too much. Teacher observation and evaluation is not easy, and the tenure process in dependent on principals making good decisions about teachers during those first three years. …And that is why we still need tenure. It takes a series of bad decisions over a number of years for a poor teacher to get tenure. But without tenure, it only takes one bad decision for a good to be dismissed. http://ceolaf.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-k12-teachers-need-tenure.html

Cleolaf points toward insufficient teacher assessment and evaluation as a prime cause of problems with teacher tenure. Research confirms that good principals are key to high performing schools. Good principals are also the key in Cleolaf’s view to making a tenure system work. Vergara v. California is a California case about teacher tenure.

Jennifer Medina reported in the New York Times article, Fight Over Effective Teachers Shifts to Courtroom:

In a small, wood-paneled courtroom here this week, nine public school students are challenging California’s ironclad tenure system, arguing that their right to a good education is violated by job protections that make it too difficult to fire bad instructors. But behind the students stand a Silicon Valley technology magnate who is financing the case and an all-star cast of lawyers that includes Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general of the United States, who recently won the Supreme Court case that effectively overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage….
At issue is a set of rules that grant permanent employment status to California teachers after 18 months on the job, require a lengthy procedure to dismiss a teacher, and set up a seniority system in which the teachers most recently hired must be the first to lose their jobs when layoffs occur, as they have regularly in recent years.
Teachers’ unions, which hold powerful sway among lawmakers here, contend that the protections are necessary to ensure that teachers are not fired unfairly. Without these safeguards, the unions say, the profession will not attract new teachers….
The month long trial promises to be a closely watched national test case on employment laws for teachers, one of the most contentious debates in education. Many school superintendents and advocates across the country call such laws detrimental and anachronistic, and have pressed for the past decade for changes, with mixed success. Tenure for teachers has been eliminated in three states and in Washington, D.C., and a handful of states prohibit seniority as a factor in teacher layoffs. But in many large states with urban school districts, including California and New York, efforts to push through such changes in the legislature have repeatedly failed.
While several lawsuits demanding more money for schools have succeeded across the country, the California case is the most sweeping legal challenge claiming that students are hurt by employment laws for teachers. The case also relies on a civil rights argument that so far is untested: that poor and minority students are denied equal access to education because they are more likely to have “grossly ineffective” teachers.
Judge Rolf Michael Treu, of Los Angeles County Superior Court, will decide the nonjury trial. His ruling will almost certainly be appealed to the State Supreme Court…
The first witness for the plaintiffs was John E. Deasy, the superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District and a staunch opponent of tenure rules and “last in, first out” seniority for teachers. Mr. Deasy testified that attempts to dismiss ineffective teachers can cost $250,000 to $450,000 and include years of appeals and legal proceedings. Often, he said, the district is forced to decide that the time and money would be too much to spend on a case with an unclear outcome, in part because a separate governing board can reinstate the teachers. Such rules make it impossible not to place ineffective teachers at schools with high poverty rates, he told the court….
Teachers’ unions contend that such job protections help schools keep the best teachers and recruit new ones to a job that is often exhausting, challenging and low paid. Mr. Finberg, the lawyer for the unions, said in court that the fact that Mr. Deasy has increased the number of ineffective teachers dismissed from the classroom — to about 100 of the district’s 30,000 teachers — suggests that the laws are working.
The plaintiffs’ legal team, from the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, includes not only Mr. Olson, who served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush, but also Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Apple in its antitrust case on e-book pricing. The lawyers and public relations firm behind Students Matter previously teamed to overturn the California ballot measure against same-sex marriage and say this case could have a similar ripple effect across the country. Among the boldface names siding publicly with the plaintiffs is Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, who joined them in a news conference outside the courthouse this week….
Teachers’ unions nationwide have fought changes in employment laws, contending that their members must be protected from capricious or vengeful administrators. In Colorado, where a sweeping law in 2010 created a new system to evaluate teachers, the unions are suing over a provision that lets principals decide whether to hire veteran teachers who lost jobs because of budget cuts or drops in enrollment.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a telephone interview that the California case echoes the fights she had when she led the teachers’ union in New York, and called the lawsuit “worse than troubling….”
State education laws across the country are changing. School districts in 29 states use poor effectiveness as grounds for dismissal, according to a report released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank that tracks teacher policies. Just five years ago, no states allowed student performance to be considered in teachers’ evaluations, said Kate Walsh, the executive director of the center. Now, 20 states require such data.
“We have really seen mountains move in some places — the trend in the country has been toward meaningful ways to evaluate teachers and to use that evaluation to make tenure decisions,” Ms. Walsh said in an interview. “But I don’t think anyone has figured out how to implement them particularly well yet.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/education/fight-over-effective-teachers-shifts-to-courtroom.html?ref=education&_r=0

See, Students Matter http://studentsmatter.org/

Here is the case summary for Vergara v. California:

Vergara v. California Case Summary: Californians shouldn’t have to choose: we can create an education system that gives every child a passionate, motivating and effective teacher and gives effective teachers the respect and rewarding careers they deserve. We believe every child, everywhere, deserves great teachers, and so does the California Supreme Court and the California Constitution. The California Supreme Court has long recognized that equal opportunity to access quality education is every child’s fundamental constitutional right.
With the help of Students Matter, nine California public school children filed the statewide lawsuit Vergara v. California against the State of California in May 2012 to strike down the laws handcuffing schools from doing what’s best for kids when it comes to teachers. Meet the Plaintiffs.
We think it’s simple: reward and retain passionate, motivating, effective teachers and hold those accountable who are failing our children. By striking down the following laws, Vergara v. California will create an opportunity for lawmakers, teachers, administrators and community leaders to design a system that’s good for teachers and students. Because when it comes to educating our kids, there should only be winners.
Permanent Employment Statute: The permanent employment law forces administrators to either grant or deny permanent employment to teachers after only 18 months—before new teachers even complete their beginner teacher programs and before administrators are able to assess whether a teacher will be effective long-term.
Dismissal Statutes: The process for dismissing a single ineffective teacher involves a borderline infinite number of steps, requires years of documentation, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and still, rarely ever works. In the past 10 years in the entire state of California, only 91 teachers have been dismissed, and the vast majority of those dismissals were for egregious conduct. Only 19 dismissals were based, in whole or in part, on unsatisfactory performance.
“Last-In, First-Out” Layoff Statute: The LIFO law reduces teachers to faceless seniority numbers. The LIFO law forces administrators to let go of passionate and motivating newer teachers and keep ineffective teachers instead, just because they have seniority.
In May 2013, the state’s two largest teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, intervened in the case to defend these statutes alongside the State. The 20-day trial for Vergara v. California begins on January 27, 2014.
View the full Vergara v. California case timeline and read about what happens if we win.
http://studentsmatter.org/our-case/vergara-v-california-case-status/timeline/
http://studentsmatter.org/our-case/vergara-v-california-case-summary/if-we-win/
Also, view and download a one-pager on Students Matter and the Vergara v. California lawsuit.
http://studentsmatter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/SM_One-Pager-FINAL_01.25.14.pdf
http://studentsmatter.org/our-case/vergara-v-california-case-summary/

Another view of teacher tenure is found at Teacher Tenure: A Life Sentence for Kids This paper begins with the following case:

In 1986, after school administrators in the El Cajon School District in California spent years documenting the more than 400 reasons for why high school English teacher Juliet Ellory was an unfit teacher, the district finally succeeded in firing her. It cost the district more than $300,000 and eight years of preparing and litigating the case. According to the overwhelming evidence against her, Ms. Ellory “hardly ever lectured,gave baffling assignments, belittled students and ignored repeated efforts by the high school principal to get her to improve.”1 Ellory’s tenure status had protected her from automatic dismissal. Though stories such as this one do not depict the average K-12 teacher, they are sufficiently widespread to provoke criticism and concern about the state of our public schools, as well as skepticism regarding the actual benefits of teacher tenure. http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/law/centers/childlaw/childed/pdfs/2009studentpapers/roulbet_teacher_tenure.pdf

A key component of reforming teacher tenure is an improved evaluation system for teachers, which focuses on improving traits that produce student achievement.

Teacher Evaluation

The Center has produced a report, which focuses on teacher evaluation. Teacher Evaluation Proper evaluation seems to be key to both addressing many problems teacher tenure was developed to protect from faulty evaluation of a teacher and to improve the quality of those in the teaching profession. Evaluation is just one component, however. New teachers need a proper induction into the profession and mentors to help them hone their skills and methods of teaching. If problems emerge, teachers need proper training and coaching to progress.

No matter where a teacher is in their career lifecycle, they will be confronting the issues of elimination of teacher tenure and more rigorous teacher evaluation. Increasingly, one component of teacher evaluation will focus on whether students are showing academic achievement gains. The point of contention, which may provoke disagreement between the evaluator and the teacher is how student achievement is measured.

In times of recession, all jobs become more difficult to find and often job seekers do not have the luxury of finding the perfect job. New teachers may find jobs in schools often considered less desirable or schools led by principals who are not considered to be leaders or supporters of their staff. Not all learning occurs during the academic portion of your life’s journey. If one finds that the first job is not the perfect opportunity, then prepare for the time you will find the perfect opportunity. Look for a teacher(s) you admire and who are successful and model what has made them successful. People who are skilled and become expert at their craft or profession will weather whatever change comes along, whether it is an elimination or modification of tenure and changes to the way evaluations are conducted.

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New teachers have higher SAT scores than in past years

20 Nov

Moi wrote in Is it true that the dumbest become teachers?

There is a quote attributed to H.L. Mencken:
Those who can — do. Those who can’t — teach.

People often assume that if a person could do anything else, they probably wouldn’t teach. Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, located in Washington, D.C. has an interesting article in the Washington Post.

In Do teachers really come from the ‘bottom third’ of college graduates? Di Carlo writes:

The conventional wisdom among many education commentators is that U.S. public school teachers “come from the bottom third” of their classes. Most recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took this talking point a step further, and asserted at a press conference last week that teachers are drawn from the bottom 20 percent of graduates.
All of this is supposed to imply that the U.S. has a serious problem with the “quality” of applicants to the profession.
Despite the ubiquity of the “bottom third” and similar arguments (which are sometimes phrased as massive generalizations, with no reference to actual proportions), it’s unclear how many of those who offer them know what specifically they refer to (e.g., GPA, SAT/ACT, college rank, etc.). This is especially important since so many of these measurable characteristics are not associated with future test-based effectiveness in the classroom, while those that are are only modestly so.
Still, given how often it is used, as well as the fact that it is always useful to understand and examine the characteristics of the teacher labor supply, it’s worth taking a quick look at where the “bottom third” claim comes from and what it might or might not mean.
Most people who put forth this assertion cite one of two sources, both from the McKinsey & Company consulting organization. The first is an influential 2007 report , which simply notes that “we are now recruiting our teachers from the bottom third of high school students going to college.” The authors fail to specify how “bottom third” is defined, or whether their data refer to graduates who planned to teach versus those who actually got a job (the latter method is, of course, far preferable).
The citation for this claim is a 2007 report from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, which was issued by the National Center on Education and Economy (NCEE). The full report is not freely available online, but it turns out (thanks to the work of California teacher Larry Ferlazzo) that its source is the National Center for Education Statistics’ annual “Condition of Education” (CoE) report (2002 edition).
There don’t seem to be any breakdowns in the cited report that permit one to examine precisely how many teachers come from the “bottom third,” but the CoE does include a few tables on the SAT/ACT scores of teachers who received a bachelor’s degree in 1992-93 and had actually taught by the time 1997 rolled around (and for whom such data were available).
Tne table lists directly the percent of teachers who scored in the top half – 40.9 percent. Using figures in a different table to very roughly ballpark the proportion of 1992-93 graduates-turned-teachers in the bottom quartile (lowest 25 percent), it would be a little under 30 percent.*
Overall, then, 1992-93 graduates who chose teaching were somewhat overrepresented in the bottom of the distribution, and underrepresented in the top. The blanket characterization of these results by McKinsey (via NCEE) – that we are “recruiting our teachers from the bottom third” – seems more than a little misleading.
The second standard source for the “bottom third” claims is more clear and well-documented. It is a subsequent McKinsey report (2010), one which doesn’t rely on questionable interpretations from indirect sources, but rather its own analysis. That report claims, “The U.S. attracts most of its teachers from the bottom two-thirds of college classes, with nearly half coming from the bottom third.”
According to a footnote, these data are “derived from the U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2001 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Survey.” The appendix to the report confirms that the “top-“ and “bottom” third figures are also based on SAT/ACT scores, specifically those of 1999 graduates whose first job (at least by 2001) was teaching. The breakdown for these graduates is as follows: 23 percent came from the “top third;” 47 percent from the “bottom third;” and 29 percent from the “middle third.” This presents a somewhat more negative picture than the CoE data discussed above.
Why the differences? Because these studies are looking at different groups of teachers. In the CoE data, it’s 1993 graduates who had taught by 1997 (four years later), while the data used in the second McKinsey include 1999 graduates who, in 2001 (two years later), said their first job was (or is) teaching. In other words, each set of results is based on two different cohorts of college graduates, who are also identified in different ways, at different points after graduation….
Neither sample is necessarily representative of the teacher workforce as a whole, or of prior and subsequent cohorts.
Overall, then, the blanket assertion that teachers are coming from the “bottom third” of graduates is, at best, an incomplete picture. It’s certainly true that, when the terciles are defined in terms of SAT/ACT scores, there is consistent evidence that new teachers are disproportionately represented in this group (see here and here for examples from the academic literature).
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/do-teachers-really-come-from-the-bottom-third-of-college-graduates/2011/12/07/gIQAg8HPdO_blog.html

There isn’t really a definitive answer.

Joy Resmovits reported at Huffington Post about two studies which indicated the quality of new teachers may be improving.

In Starting Teacher SAT Scores Rise As Educators Face Tougher Evaluations, Resmovits reported:

American teachers may be getting smarter.
Still, scrutiny of their work and cries to overhaul the education system intensify.
The education reform group National Council on Teacher Quality, and Harvard University’s Education Next journal on Wednesday each released a paper about the state of the teaching force. The paper by National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank that has long advocated for rigorous teacher evaluations, provides an overall look at how states are evaluating teachers and using the results. The Education Next paper, authored by the University of Washington’s Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch, investigated the academic qualifications of new teachers and found that average SAT scores have increased significantly over the last decade.
Taken together, the articles show an evolving workforce that raises questions about the often extreme hand-wringing over teacher quality. “Although teachers in the U.S. are more likely to be drawn from the lower end of the academic achievement distribution than are teachers in selected high-performing countries, the picture is a bit more nuanced than the rhetoric suggests,” Goldhaber and Walch wrote.
Advocates who have supported the evaluations highlighted by National Council on Teacher Quality continue pushing states to take them further — higher SAT scores or otherwise. “The SAT data is an encouraging sign, and we should keep heading in that direction, as it seems to be an indicator of whether a teacher can actually produce gains,” said Eric Lerum, a vice president at StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based lobbying and advocacy group started by former Washington schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. “But it doesn’t tell us enough — Goldhaber says it’s not conclusive enough that the trend is reversing — and we’re still not taking enough top-shelf talent and getting them into teaching. We need to use the data we do have and take a comprehensive approach toward improving teacher quality….”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/30/teacher-sat-scores_n_4175593.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch analyzed teacher quality in an article at Education Next.

Goldhaber and Walch wrote in Gains in Teacher Quality:

Conclusions
In summary, although teachers in the U.S. are more likely to be drawn from the lower end of the academic achievement distribution than are teachers in selected high-performing countries, the picture is a bit more nuanced than the rhetoric suggests, and as we illustrate, it has in fact changed over time in an encouraging direction. There was an upward shift in achievement for 2008 college graduates entering the teacher workforce the following school year. In fact, 2008 graduates both with and without STEM majors who entered the teacher workforce had higher average SAT scores than their peers who entered other occupations.
What explains the apparent rise in academic competency among new teachers? As we show, the SAT scores of those seeking and finding employment in a teaching job differ in different years. It is possible that alternative pathways into the teaching profession have become an important source of academic talent for the profession. Unfortunately, we cannot explore this issue in any depth because the way in which teachers were asked about their preparation has varied over time. Regardless, alternative routes are unlikely to be the primary explanation for the changing SAT trends given that, with a few high-profile exceptions like Teach for America, alternative certification programs are not highly selective.
Differences in the labor market context across years may help explain the rise in SAT scores. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate in 2009 was about 9 percent to about 6 and 5 percent in 1994 and 2001, respectively. The high unemployment rate in 2009 may have led more high-scoring graduates to choose to pursue comparatively stable and secure teaching jobs rather than occupations that were viewed as riskier in the economic downturn. By contrast, those graduating in 2000 were entering the labor market during the tech boom, when there was a good deal of competition for the labor of prospective teachers. Regardless of the reason for the changes in academic proficiency that we observe, however, the data are encouraging and may represent the reversal of the long-term trend of declining academic talent entering teaching….
http://educationnext.org/gains-in-teacher-quality/

Kids know good teaching when they see it. Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP wrotein the Seattle Times article, How Do You Find An Effective Teacher? Ask A Kid:

Adults may be a little surprised by some of the preliminary findings of new research on what makes a great teacher.
How do you find the most effective teachers? Ask your kids. That’s one of four main conclusions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its research partners after the first year of its Measures of Effective Teaching Project.
Preliminary results of the study were posted online Friday; a more complete report is expected in April, according to the foundation….
The first four conclusions of the study are as follows:
-The average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.
-In every grade and every subject, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.
-The teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests, which show improvement by individual students during the time they were in their classroom, are also the teachers who do the best job helping their students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.
-Valid feedback does not need to come from test scores alone. Other data can give teachers the information they need to improve, including student opinions of how organized and effective a teacher is….http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013649952_apusgatesfoundationteachers.html

See, What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/education/11education.html?emc=eta1

Bottom line, education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Students must arrive at school ready to learn. Parents must provide an environment which supports education and education achievement. Teachers must have strong subject matter knowledge and pedagogic skills. Schools must provide safe environments and discipline. Communities are also part of a successful school system and outcome for community children. Education is a partnership.

Resource:

A Comparative Study of Teacher Preparation and Qualifications in Six Nations
Consortium for Policy Research In Education
By Richard M. Ingersoll, United States With
Ding Gang and Sun Meilu, People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Kwok Chan Lai, Hong Kong
Hidenori Fujita, Japan
Ee-gyeong Kim, Republic of Korea
Steven K. S. Tan and Angela F. L. Wong, Singapore
Pruet Siribanpitak and Siriporn Boonyananta, Thailand
http://www.cpre.org/images/stories/cpre_pdfs/sixnations_final.pdf

Related:

The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

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Mathematica study: Moving top teachers to struggling schools produces gains

10 Nov

Anne Lowrey wrote in the 2012 New York Times article, Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain:

WASHINGTON — Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.
A study found profound effects on students whose teachers helped them raise their test scores.
The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, all economists, examines a larger number of students over a longer period of time with more in-depth data than many earlier studies, allowing for a deeper look at how much the quality of individual teachers matters over the long term.
“That test scores help you get more education, and that more education has an earnings effect — that makes sense to a lot of people,” said Robert H. Meyer, director of the Value-Added Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which studies teacher measurement but was not involved in this study. “This study skips the stages, and shows differences in teachers mean differences in earnings.”
The study, which the economics professors have presented to colleagues in more than a dozen seminars over the past year and plan to submit to a journal, is the largest look yet at the controversial “value-added ratings,” which measure the impact individual teachers have on student test scores. It is likely to influence the roiling national debates about the importance of quality teachers and how best to measure that quality
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/big-study-links-good-teachers-to-lasting-gain.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Citation:

Executive Summary of National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 17699, December 2011
THE LONG-TERM IMPACTS OF TEACHERS: TEACHER VALUE-ADDED AND STUDENT OUTCOMES IN ADULTHOOD
Raj Chetty, Harvard University and NBER
John N. Friedman, Harvard University and NBER
Jonah E. Rockoff, Columbia University and NBER
Executive Summary http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/va_exec_summ.pdf
Manuscript (NBER WP17699)
Presentation Slides http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/va_exec_summ.pdf

Stephen Sawchuk reported in the Education Week article, Moving Top Teachers to Struggling Schools Has Benefits:

The transfer of top elementary teachers to low-achieving schools can help boost students’ performance, but there’s a catch: getting them to agree to move.
A new study, seven years in the making, finds that elementary teachers identified as effective who transferred to low-achieving schools under a bonus-pay program helped their new students learn more, on average, than teachers in a control group did with their students. They also stayed in the schools at least as long as other new hires.
But despite a large financial reward, only 5 percent of eligible teachers made the shift, the report concludes.
“It’s a hard sell, even with $20,000 on the table,” said Steven M. Glazerman, a senior fellow at the Princeton, N.J.-based Mathematica Policy Research, the evaluation firm that conducted the study.
Education advocates have long deplored inequitable access by disadvantaged students to high-quality teaching. The federally financed study suggests there is promise in incentive programs, but highlights the logistical complexities in carrying them out, said Sarah Almy, the director of teacher quality for the Education Trust, a Washington-based group that advocates for poor and minority students.
“I think it’s a reminder of how much we still have to understand about this issue, and that it is challenging,” she said….
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/11/07/12transfer_ep.h33.html?tkn=UZXFuaZcxQp8Rqpt6xTNM9vjM4X54hs%2BsBF%2F&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Here is the press release from Mathematica:

New Study: Teachers with High “Value Added” Can Boost Test Scores in Low-Performing Schools
Known to participants as the Talent Transfer Initiative, this $20,000 financial incentive for high-performing teachers to transfer to low-performing schools had positive impacts on math and reading scores.
Contact: Jennifer de Vallance, (202) 484-4692
WASHINGTON, DC—November 6, 2013. A $20,000 incentive for high-performing teachers to move to low-performing schools has helped raise the math and reading test scores of elementary students by 4 to 10 percentile points, according to a new studyconducted by Mathematica Policy Research and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Although there was no evidence of impacts in middle schools, the combined impact on elementary and middle school grade teams was positive and significant for reading by the second year after the transfer. The average cost of producing these gains in elementary and middle schools is estimated to be $7,000 cheaper than reducing class size to produce a similar effect. In elementary schools, the intervention was $13,000 cheaper per grade than the class-size reduction benchmark.
Many education policy experts have raised concerns that disadvantaged students do not have the same access to highly effective teachers as other students. To address this issue, IES sponsored an evaluation of an intervention known to study participants as the Talent Transfer Initiative (TTI). TTI offered a financial incentive to the teachers with the highest scores year after year on value-added measures (estimates of their ability to raise test scores, after accounting for differences between students) if they would transfer to a low-achieving school in the same district and remain there for at least two years.
About 22 percent of the selected teachers applied for the transfer, and 5 percent (81 teachers) ultimately transferred. These teachers filled 88 percent of the targeted teaching vacancies in low-performing schools. The results of the study include the following:
• TTI increased test scores in elementary schools, but not in middle schools. In classrooms targeted by TTI, impacts on elementary math and reading scores ranged from 10 to 25 percent of a standard deviation, depending on the subject and year. This is equivalent to increases of 4 to 10 percentile points. Impacts on elementary grade teams as a whole were positive in the second year, equal to 8 and 7 percent of a standard deviation in math and reading, respectively—or about 3 percentile points. Although there was no evidence of impacts in middle schools, the combined impact on elementary and middle school grade teams was positive and significant for reading by the second year after the transfer. Different outcomes in elementary versus middle schools could in part reflect differences between districts, which varied considerably in terms of impacts and where they offered TTI (elementary or middle schools).
• Most TTI teachers stayed on the job even after payments ended. TTI had a positive impact on teacher-retention rates during the first two years, while transfer teachers were receiving bonus payments. Ninety-three percent of TTI teachers remained in their positions during that period, versus 70 percent of traditionally hired teachers. Moreover, most (60 percent) of the teachers in the TTI group also continued to teach in the low-performing schools in their third year, after the payments ended.
• Compared with similar interventions, TTI was more cost-effective. The largest impacts were in elementary schools, where the cost savings could be as large as $13,000 per grade at a given school, compared with other interventions that can be equally effective in raising test scores, such as reducing class size. Including middle schools, where achievement impacts were not significant, and assuming that the total impacts persist into a third year, the estimated cost savings exceeded $40,000 per grade.
Steven Glazerman, study director and senior fellow at Mathematica, said, “For TTI to show positive effects, two things had to be true: first, the value-added measure had to contain some meaningful signal about future performance, and second, the teachers’ skills had to transfer to the teachers’ new settings. The fact that some teachers had positive impacts and then stayed beyond their two-year commitment suggests that selective transfer incentives may have lasting effects.”
About the Study: Sponsored by IES, this multisite randomized experiment was used to study the TTI intervention in 10 large, economically diverse school districts across seven states. The districts identified schools with the lowest test scores and singled out grade-subject teams with teaching vacancies. The researchers randomly assigned each team to either a treatment group, where the principals could interview and hire a TTI-transfer candidate eligible for $20,000, or to a control group, where the school principals filled the vacancies however they normally would. Researchers then followed the students and teachers in both the treatment and control groups for two years and compared their outcomes.
View the video, fact sheet, or full report on this study.
About Mathematica: Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research firm, provides a full range of research and data collection services, including program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, research assessment and interpretation, and program performance/data management, to improve public well-being. Its clients include federal and state governments, foundations, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, N.J.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cambridge, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Oakland, Calif.; and Washington, D.C., has conducted some of the most important studies of education, disability, health care, family support, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs.
http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/education/tti_high_perform_teachers.pdf

Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.

Related:

Studies: For struggling math students, teacher quality matters https://drwilda.com/2013/04/14/studies-for-struggling-math-students-teacher-quality-matters/

The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

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Harvard-Smithsonian study: The subject matter knowledge of science teachers is important element of student science learning

5 May

Moi has written about teacher quality in Studies: For struggling math students, teacher quality matters https://drwilda.com/2013/04/14/studies-for-struggling-math-students-teacher-quality-matters/

and New Harvard study about impact of teachers:

The Guide to Teacher Quality lists several key attributes of a quality teacher:

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT TEACHER QUALITY

Experience is very important. The ability of a new teacher to support student learning

increases greatly during his/her first year of teaching and continues to grow through at least the

first several years of teaching (Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2007; Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2004;

Hanushek et al., 1998).

Teacher attrition matters. Districts and schools with relatively high rates of teacher

attrition are likely to have more inexperienced teachers and, as a result, instructional quality

and student learning suffer (Alliance for Quality Teaching, 2008).

Ability matters. Teachers with higher scores on college admission or licensure tests as well

as those from colleges with more selective admission practices are better able to support student

learning (Gitomer, 2007; Rice, 2003; Wayne and Youngs, 2003; Reichardt, 2001; Ferguson

& Ladd, 1996; Greenwald, Hedges & Laine, 1996).

Teachers’ subject matter knowledge helps students learn. Students learn when their

teacher knows the subject, particularly in secondary science and mathematics (Floden &

Meniketti, 2006; Rice, 2003; Wayne and Youngs, 2003; Reichardt, 2001).

Preparation and training in how to teach makes a difference. Knowing how to teach

improves student learning, particularly when a teacher is in his/her first years of teaching (Rice,

2003; Allen, 2003; Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb & Wyckoff, 2005).

Teacher diversity may also be important. There is emerging evidence that students learn

better from teachers of similar racial and ethnic background (Dee, 2004; Dee, 2001; Hanushek

et al. 1998).

One of the important attributes is the subject matter knowledge of the teacher. These findings are particularly important in light of the study, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: TeacherValue-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood by Raj Chetty, Harvard University and NBER , John N. Friedman, Harvard University and NBER, and Jonah E. Rockoff, Columbia University and NBER .

Here is a portion of the executive summary:

Many policy makers advocate increasing the quality of teaching, but there is considerable debate about the best way to measure and improve teacher quality. One method is to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on students’ test scores, commonly termed the “value-added” (VA) approach. A teacher’s value-added is defined as the average test-score gain for his or her students, adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores. School districts from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles have begun to use VA to evaluate teachers. Proponents argue that using VA can improve student achievement (e.g. Hanushek 2009), while critics argue that test score gains are poor proxies for a teacher’s true quality (e.g. Baker et al. 2010).

The debate about VA stems from two fundamental questions. First, does VA accurately measure teachers’ impacts on scores or does it unfairly penalize teachers who may systematically be assigned lower achieving students? Second, do high VA teachers improve their students’ long-term outcomes or are they simply better at teaching to the test? Researchers have not reached a consensus about the accuracy and long-term impacts of VA because of data and methodological limitations.

We address these two questions by tracking one million children from a large urban school district from 4th grade to adulthood. We evaluate the accuracy of standard VA measures using several methods, including natural experiments that arise from changes in teaching staff. We find that when a high VA teacher joins a school, test scores rise immediately in the grade taught by that teacher; when a high VA teacher leaves, test scores fall. Test scores change only in the subject taught by that teacher, and the size of the change in scores matches what we predict based on the teacher’s VA. These results establish that VA accurately captures teachers’ impacts on students’ academic achievement and thereby reconcile the conflicting conclusions of Kane and Staiger (2008) and Rothstein (2010). These methods provide a simple yet powerful method to estimate the bias of value-added models in any district; interested readers can download computer code to implement these tests from this link.

In the second part of our study, we analyze whether high VA teachers also improve students’ long-term outcomes. We find that students assigned to higher VA teachers are more successful in many dimensions. They are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in better neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers.

Teachers’ impacts on students are substantial. Replacing a teacher whose true VA is in the bottom 5% with a teacher of average quality would generate lifetime earnings gains worth more than $250,000 for the average classroom. VA estimates are less reliable when they are based on data from a small number of classes. However, even after observing teachers’ impacts on test scores for one year, estimates of VA are reliable enough that such personnel changes would yield large gains on average.

Teachers have large impacts in all the grades we analyze (4 to 8), implying that the returns to education remain large well beyond early childhood. Teachers’ impacts on earnings are also similar in percentage terms for students from low and high income families. As a rough guideline, parents should be willing to pay about 25% of their child’s income at age 28 to switch their child from a below-average (25th percentile) to an above-average (75th percentile) teacher. For example, parents whose children will earn around $40,000 in their late 20s should be willing to pay $10,000 to switch from a below-average to an above-average teacher for one grade, based on the expected increase in their child’s lifetime earnings.

Overall, our study shows that great teachers create great value – perhaps several times their annual salaries – and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers. However, more work is needed to determine the best way to use VA for policy. For example, using VA in teacher evaluations could induce undesirable responses that make VA a poorer measure of teacher quality, such as teaching to the test or cheating. There will be much to learn about these issues from school districts that start using VA to evaluate teachers. Nevertheless, it is clear that improving the quality of teaching – whether using value-added or other tools – is likely to have large economic and social returns.

See, Annie Lowrey’s New York Times article, Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain

Erik Robelen writes in the Education Week article, Knowing Student Misconceptions Key to Science Teaching, Study Finds which finds that teacher knowledge matters in science teaching.

It seems obvious that teachers need to understand the content they’re trying to convey to students. But a new study finds that what’s especially critical to improved science learning is that teachers also know the common misconceptions students have. And in science, there are plenty of things that young people—and a lot of adults—don’t correctly understand, such as what causes the change of seasons.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, targeted middle school physical science. The researchers enlisted 181 teachers to administer a multiple-choice test of student knowledge of science concepts. Twelve of the 20 items were designed to have a “particularly wrong answer corresponding to a commonly held misconception,” explained Philip Sadler, the lead author and a senior lecturer at the Harvard-Smithsonian center.

The “unusual” part of the study, he said, was that teachers also took the test, and were asked to identify both the correct answer and the one students were most often likely to incorrectly select. Although the teachers overall did “quite well” at selecting the correct answer, the results were more mixed in predicting students’ incorrect response.

“Teacher knowledge was predictive of higher student gains. No surprise there,” Sadler explained in an email. “However, for more difficult concepts where many students had a misconception, only teachers who knew the science and the common misconceptions have large student gains.” What’s key, he said, is knowing “what was going on in their students’ heads.”

The study, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, was recently published online in the American Educational Research Journal. The study also is the focus of an article published yesterday in Science Daily.

The researchers acknowledge that many educators question the value of tests composed of multiple-choice items, but said in the study that when items are written to include popular misconceptions as “distractors, they function well in diagnosing misconceptions that impede the learning of science.” The test questions were based on concepts covered in a set of science content standards published by the National Research Council in 1996. Topics addressed included properties of matter, motions and forces, and transfer of energy.

In his email, Sadler said the study was sparked by the reaction many educators have had to a video he helped to develop, called “A Private Universe,” in which graduating Harvard University seniors reveal “the same wrong ideas” about science as middle-school students. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/05/it_goes_without_saying_that.html

Citation:

The Influence of Teachers’ Knowledge on Student Learning in Middle School Physical Science Classrooms

  1. Philip M. Sadler,

  2. Gerhard Sonnert,

  3. Harold P. Coyle,

  4. Nancy Cook-Smith and

  5. Jaimie L. Miller

+ Author Affiliations

  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between teacher knowledge and student learning for 9,556 students of 181 middle school physical science teachers. Assessment instruments based on the National Science Education Standards with 20 items in common were administered several times during the school year to both students and their teachers. For items that had a very popular wrong answer, the teachers who could identify this misconception had larger classroom gains, much larger than if the teachers knew only the correct answer. On items on which students did not exhibit misconceptions, teacher subject matter knowledge alone accounted for higher student gains. This finding suggests that a teacher’s ability to identify students’ most common wrong answer on multiple-choice items, a form of pedagogical content knowledge, is an additional measure of science teacher competence.

This Article

  1. Published online before print March 6, 2013, doi: 10.3102/0002831213477680 Am Educ Res J March 6, 2013 0002831213477680
  1. » AbstractFree

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.

Resources:

National Council on Teacher Quality

How I was evaluated as a first-year teacher – 10/04/2012

A first year teacher, ripe for feedback and improvement, gets none.

What’s the Latest on Teacher Evaluation? – 10/02/2012

We’ve got the skinny on what states are doing to evaluate their teachers and award them tenure. Read more

2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

January 2012

State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies

October 2011

State of the States 2012: Teacher Effectiveness Policies

October 2012

Center for Teaching Qualityhttp://www.teachingquality.org/

The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality http://www.tqsource.org/

Related:

Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/linda-darling-hammond-on-teacher-evaluation/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                    https://drwilda.com/

Study: Performance of teachers can be tracked over time

5 Mar

Moi wrote in Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness:

Public Impact has a produced a report, Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look “Under the Hood” of Teacher Evaluation in 10 Sites which examines teacher evaluation efforts in three states. So, how is teacher effectiveness measured? Well, kids know good teaching when they see it. Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP reports in the Seattle Times article, How Do You Find An Effective Teacher? Ask A Kid

Adults may be a little surprised by some of the preliminary findings of new research on what makes a great teacher.

How do you find the most effective teachers? Ask your kids. That’s one of four main conclusions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its research partners after the first year of its Measures of Effective Teaching Project.

Preliminary results of the study were posted online Friday; a more complete report is expected in April, according to the foundation….

The first four conclusions of the study are as follows:

-The average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.

-In every grade and every subject, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.

-The teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests, which show improvement by individual students during the time they were in their classroom, are also the teachers who do the best job helping their students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.

-Valid feedback does not need to come from test scores alone. Other data can give teachers the information they need to improve, including student opinions of how organized and effective a teacher is….

See, Students Know Good Teaching When They Get It, Survey Finds

https://drwilda.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Best and Worst Teachers Can Be Flagged Early, Says Study:

New teachers become much more effective with a few years of classroom experience, but a working paperRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader by a team of researchers suggests the most—and least—effective elementary teachers show their colors at the very start of their careers.

“This is a fundamentally different time period for teachers, when we know they are going through changes,” said lead author Allison Atteberry, a research associate in the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She discussed preliminary results of the study at a research meeting on K-12 and postsecondary education held by the Washington-based National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, known as CALDER, on Feb. 21.

“We know less about how these value-added measures work in the early career,” she added.

The study tracked the individual effectiveness of more than 7,600 incoming New York City teachers in mathematics and English/language arts. Each of the teachers taught 4th or 5th grade from 2000 to 2006.

The researchers analyzed teacher records from the New York city and state education departments, along with data on the teachers’ students, including achievement-test results in math and English/language arts, gender, ethnicity, home language, poverty, special education status, and absences and suspensions.

Predicting Performance

While incoming New York City teachers became more effective at improving their students’ mathematics and English/language arts performance in their first few years on the job, new research finds that they’re often still in the same performance quintile after four or five years. Researchers compared the mean effectiveness in the first two years with effectiveness in later years.

Ms. Atteberry’s co-authors are Susanna Loeb, the director of Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, and James H. Wyckoff, an education professor at the University of Virginia. They and Ms. Atteberry are all associated with CALDER.

For the incoming teachers who continued to teach for at least five years, the researchers compared the mean value-added effectiveness at improving student achievement in math and English in their first two years of teaching with their effectiveness for the next three years.

Overall, the teachers improved significantly in their first two years in their value-added score. While more than 36 percent of teachers were rated in the lowest of five levels of effectiveness at the start of their careers, only 12 percent were still rated in that same quintile by their third year of teaching.

Limited Growth?

However, when teachers at each initial level of effectiveness were tracked individually over time, their growth was much less significant. Compared with other teachers who started at the same time they did, teachers in the lowest 20 percent were still likely to be in the lowest 20 percent three to five years later.

“When you look at teachers who in the future are low-performing, very few of those come from the initially highest quintile of performance, and the same is true in the opposite direction,” Ms. Atteberry said. “We see that even more at the high end: Teachers who are initially highest-performing are by far the most likely to be in the highest quintile in the future….” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/03/06/23teacher.h32.html?tkn=MOYFY6ibw6ZMewuL2mU5P2GmWgqqd0wVbbr2&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Citation:

Do First Impressions Matter? Improvement in Early Career Teacher Effectiveness

Allison Atteberry, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff

CALDER Working Paper No. 90

February 2013

Abstract

There is increasing agreement among researchers and policymakers that teachers vary widely in their ability to improve student achievement, and the difference between effective and ineffective teachers hassubstantial effects on standardized test outcomes as well as later life outcomes. However, there is notsimilar agreement about how to improve teacher effectiveness. Several research studies confirm that onaverage novice teachers show remarkable improvement in effectiveness over the first five years of their careers. In this paper we employ rich data from New York City to explore the variation among teachers in early career returns to experience. Our goal is to bet ter understand the extent to which measures of teacher effectiveness during the first two years reliably predicts future performance. Our findings suggest that early career returns to experience may provide useful insights regarding future performance and offer opportunities to better understand how to improve teacher effectiveness. We present evidence not only about the predictive power of early value-added scores, but also on the limitations and imprecision of those predictions. http://auth.calder.commonspotcloud.com/publications/upload/wp90.pdf

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. Really, it comes down to each population of kids should have solutions tailored for their needs. There really should not be a one size approach to education.

Related:

Is classroom practice the missing ingredient in teacher training?                                                                     https://drwilda.com/2012/10/04/is-classroom-practice-the-missing-ingredient-in-teacher-training/

The teacher master’s degree and student achievement https://drwilda.com/2012/07/23/the-teacher-masters-degree-and-student-achievement/

Urban teacher residencies                                            https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/urban-teacher-residencies/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                         http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                        http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/

Is classroom practice the missing ingredient in teacher training?

4 Oct

Moi wrote in Teacher credentials: ‘Teacher Performance Assessment’:

Because teacher training programs will be evaluated by the National Council on Teacher Quality, there is interest in examining how teachers are prepared. See, Building Better Teachers http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools/home.jsp Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Alverno College, the small women’s college on Milwaukee’s south side, has been widely cited as a national model for training teachers, thanks to its combination of clinical and classroom experience and use of video and other tools to evaluate whether graduates are meeting the standards for what makes a good teacher….

Key elements of an excellent teacher education program:

  • Strong content knowledge, teaching skills. Future teachers gain a solid grounding in the content to be taught as well as how to teach it.

  • Flexible methods. Emphasis is placed on teaching diverse learners – knowing how to differentiate teaching to reach a broad range of students.

  • Fieldwork. Coursework clearly is connected to fieldwork. The clinical experience, like in medical school, consists of intensive student-teaching, preferably for a semester or entire year, under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

  • Professional mentors. Mentors observe future teachers in the classroom – sometimes videotaping for later analysis – and work with them on everything from lesson-planning and creating assignments to monitoring student progress and grading.

  • Designated “learning schools.” Mentors and school sites for student-teaching are well-chosen. There are close relationships and a sense of joint responsibility among the school sites at which future teachers train, the local district and the teacher-education program.

  • Escalating teaching responsibilities. Future teachers gradually take over a full classroom, first teaching short segments on a single topic with a small group of students, then co-teaching with the mentor before assuming full responsibility for a class.

  • Feedback. Feedback from multiple sources (mentors, professors, peers) is routine.

  • Selective admission standards. Admission to the program is selective; not everyone has the necessary skills or demeanor to be an effective teacher.

Sources: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, Stanford and Harvard Universities. Compiled by Justin Snider of The Hechinger Report

These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/teacher-credentials-teacher-performance-assessment/

Jay Mathews has written an interesting Washington Post article, Why teacher training fails our teachers:

American public elementary and secondary schools spend about $20 billion a year on what is called professional development — helping teachers do their jobs better. Many teachers will tell you much of that is a waste of time and money.

Now, three former teachers involved in training have discovered an important reason. Teachers are rarely given time and opportunity to practice what they have learned.

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better,” is the new book by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi exposing this flaw in teacher training and the way most of us learn any complex skill. Professional athletes know the value of repeating moves again and again before the game starts. Michael Jordan was famous for how much time he spent practicing in the gym, even after he became a superstar…

For teachers, the authors of “Practice Perfect” say, pre-game repetition is crucial. “If a teacher’s performance during a given class is less than what she wanted, she cannot get it back,” they say. “She cannot as, say, a lawyer working on a contract might do, stop in the middle of her work and call someone to ask for advice. She can’t give it her best shot and then, as we are doing as we write this book, go back and tinker and revise and have the luxury of being held accountable for a final product that reflects actions taken and reconsidered over an extended period….”

They learned this only recently after analyzing the results of a study of great teachers in high-poverty public schools, reported in Lemov’s previous best-selling book, “Teach Like a Champion.” The teachers with the best results “were often the most likely to focus on small and seemingly mundane aspects of their daily work.” The authors liken this to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who went so far as to teach players how to put their socks on correctly. But the insight did not immediately illumine the importance of practice….

The authors realized that their trainees hadn’t practiced. It was the equivalent of trying to learn a new backhand in the middle of a match at center court Wimbledon.

They added repetitive exercises to their training workshops. Teachers played students so the situation would resemble a real classroom. Teachers still had trouble getting it right. The real world situation was too distracting, The authors dialed down the student disruption so their trainees had a chance to do the technique correctly several times. Once it became automatic, they could handle unpredictable moments….

In the future, schools will still often spend big money on training teachers in ineffective ways. Learning to practice, this book vividly illustrates, takes time and effort, trial and error. It won’t happen tomorrow. But even a small movement in the direction of more practice will reap benefits, in teaching and many other things we do. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-teacher-training-fails-our-teachers/2012/10/03/f88d470a-0c56-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_blog.html

Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.

Resources:

National Council on Teacher Quality

How I was evaluated as a first-year teacher – 10/04/2012

A first year teacher, ripe for feedback and improvement, gets none.

What’s the Latest on Teacher Evaluation? – 10/02/2012

We’ve got the skinny on what states are doing to evaluate their teachers and award them tenure. Read more

2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

January 2012

State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies

October 2011

State of the States 2012: Teacher Effectiveness Policies

October 2012

Center for Teaching Quality http://www.teachingquality.org/

The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality http://www.tqsource.org/

Related:

Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/linda-darling-hammond-on-teacher-evaluation/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                       http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                  https://drwilda.com/

Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations

27 Jul

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Centeron Reinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief.

In Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways School Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools Districts Roza and Yatsko report:

This brief addresses this concern by demonstrating that districts would NOT need to mandatorily reassign teachers. It shows that there are other ways to restructure allocations that do not systematically shortchange the neediest schools. Discussed here are four options that districts could pursue to remedy school spending inequities created by uneven salaries:

  • Option 1: Apply teacher salary bonuses to some schools to balance salaries

  • Option 2: Vary class size across schools to level spending

  • Option 3: Concentrate specialist and support staff in schools with lower-salaried teachers

  • Option 4: Equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Download Full Report (PDF: 736 K)

Of all the issues about teacher compensation, one of the hottest is “merit pay.”

Dylan Matthews writes in the Washington Post article, Does teacher merit pay work? A new study says yes:

There’s very good evidence that teacher quality matters a lot in terms of student performance in school and success later on in life. The economist Raj Chetty of Harvard, for example, has found that students randomly placed with more experienced kindergarten teachers not only perform better on tests but earn more and save more for retirement as adults, are likelier to go to college, and go to better colleges than their peers with less experienced teachers. Eric Hanushek of Stanford estimates that a good teacher – defined as at the 84th percentile, or one standard deviation above the mean for you stats nerds – provides students with test scores associated with an increase of between $22,000 and $46,000 in lifetime earnings.

Findings like these lead some to favor “merit pay” regimes that include student test scores as a determinant of teachers’ salaries. This has met opposition from teachers’ unions and testing skeptics, who argue that it would result in teaching-to-the-test at the expense of actual learning. For a long time, the data has been mixed on merit pay. Two studies from Mathematica Policy Research in 2010 that found little benefit, while a study in Nashville found mild benefits for fifth graders but none for other students.

That has changed with the publication of a new paper (pdf) by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, the University of Chicago’s Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and John List, and UC San Diego’s Sally Sadoff. The authors went into nine K-8 schools in Chicago Heights, a city 30 miles south of Chicago, and randomly selected teachers (who had to consent, which 93.75 percent did) to take part in a merit pay scheme. The students affected were overwhelmingly low-income, with 98 percent receiving free or subsidized lunches. Teachers in the experiment were offered $80 per percentile improvement in student test scores, for a maximum reward of $8,000, compared to a typical teacher salary of $50,000.

The authors split teachers in the study into a control group, who were not offered any rewards, a “gain” group, which was promised rewards of up to $8,000 at the end of the school year, and a “loss” group, which was given $4,000 upfront and asked to pay back any rewards they did not earn. The idea behind the latter group was that loss aversion should motivate teachers to perform better than they would if they only stood to gain more money. Additionally, the gain and loss groups were split, with a “team” group being rewarded on the basis of theirs and fellow teachers’ test scores, and the “individual” group being reward only on the basis of their own scores. The conclusion: it worked, and it worked almost twice as well when the money was given at the start and then taken away…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/23/does-teacher-merit-pay-work-a-new-study-says-yes/

One might ask why “merit pay’ seemed to work in the situation studied?

Jordan Weissmann writes a provocative analysis of the study in the Atlantic article, A Very Mean (But Maybe Brilliant) Way to Pay Teachers:

But Levitt, Fryer and Co. argue that there’s a serious problem with merit pay. So far, they say, there’s been scant evidence that it actually works. Studies of teacher incentive programs in Tennessee and New York City failed to find any signs that they improved student learning. In the New York experiment, which Harvard’s Fryer conducted, the impact may have even been detrimental. 

Enter loss aversion. The authors theorized that instead of offering a lump-sum bonus to teachers come summertime, it might be more effective to give instructors money upfront, then warn them that they would have to pay it back if their students didn’t hit the proper benchmarks. Rather than tap into teachers’ ambition, they’d tap into their anxiety.

To test their idea, the authors designed an experiment for the 2010-2011 school year involving 150 K-8 teachers from Chicago Heights, a low-income community in Illinois. The instructors were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two main bunches, which I’ll shorthand as the “winners” and the “losers.” The winners agreed to work under a traditional year-end bonus structure, where they could make up to $8,000 extra based on their students’ standardized test scores. The losers were given $4,000 off the bat and informed that if their students’ turned in below-average results, they’d have to pay a portion of it back commensurate with just how poor their scores were. On the flip side, an above-average performance could earn them additional bonus money, up to the full $8,000. 

The authors then divided the winners and losers again so that some teachers would be rewarded based on their results as a group, and others would be rewarded based on their results as individuals. 

Come vacation time, the losers had won. In math, paying teachers a year-end bonus had no statistically significant effect. When teachers had money to lose, though, their students over performed. The impact was large — the equivalent of improving a teacher’s skills by one full standard deviation — and the pattern held whether teachers were compensated as a group or as individuals. The authors’ data on reading scores turned out to be shakier, since most students ultimately had more than one instructor working with them on language skills, but it indicated a similar trend. 

In short, they found that merit pay can work. You just have to be tricky, and a little bit mean, with how you implement it…. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/a-very-mean-but-maybe-brilliant-way-to-pay-teachers/260234/#.UBHCJts3U6I.email

Citation:

Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment*

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Harvard University

Steven D. Levitt

The University of Chicago

John List

The University of Chicago

Sally Sadoff

University of California San Diego

Abstract

Domestic attempts to use financial incentives for teachers to increase student achievement have been ineffective. In this paper, we demonstrate that exploiting the power of loss aversion—teachers are paid in advance and asked to give back the money if their students do not improve sufficiently—increases math test scores between 0.201 (0.076) and 0.398 (0.129) standard deviations. This is equivalent to increasing teacher

quality by more than one standard deviation. A second treatment arm, identical to the loss aversion treatment but implemented in the standard fashion, yields smaller and statistically insignificant results. This suggests it is loss aversion, rather than other features of the design or population sampled, that leads to the stark differences between our findings and past research. 

What the various studies seem to point out is there is no one remedy which works in all situations and that there must be a menu of education options.

Resources:

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                         http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay                   http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/13/some-teachers-skeptical-of-merit-pay/

Related:

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/washington-d-c-rolls-out-merit-pay/

Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-recruitment/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©