Skip to main content

Empirical Puzzles on Effective Teachers: U.S. Research

Part of the Methodology of Educational Measurement and Assessment book series (MEMA)

Abstract

This chapter addresses the knowledge base on selection and evaluation of effective teachers using recent empirical literature from the United States. It finds that the traditional criteria of teacher licensing, educational credentials, and teaching experience show extremely weak relationships to gains (value-added) in student achievement. Combining classroom observations and measures of teacher value-added seem to hold promise in identifying productive teachers among those already employed, but lack applicability in the initial selection of teachers. Differences among teacher training programs in teacher effectiveness are surprisingly small relative to variance within programs. Issues of how to select teachers and how to reward them for their contributions to student and school productivity remain contested without solid evidence to resolve them.

Keywords

  • Student Achievement
  • Prospective Teacher
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Teacher Experience
  • Teacher Preparation Program

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Chapter for a festschrift in honor of Professor Jan-Eric Gustafsson, University of Goteborg. Previous version presented at a conference on “Teacher Competence and the Teaching Profession” Sponsored by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and Wenner-Gren Foundations/KVA, September 10–13, 2014, Stockholm.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-43473-5_10
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-43473-5
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    It is important to note that many studies only look for a statistically significant relation in which the result was unlikely to be found by chance. But in the context of validating a predictive relation between a criterion and outcome, the magnitude of the relationship is important, not just its rejection of a chance occurrence. I have used the term “little relationship” to characterize situations in which there is no statistically significant relation or the relationship is statistically significant, but trivial (suggesting little impact). For example, one of the largest apparent effects of certification is found in Clotfelter et al. (2007). But the difference in student achievement between teachers who have met the full license requirement and those who lack the requirement is only about 2 percentiles on a standardized metric of achievement or less than 1 percentile if one makes an adjustment for fadeout of achievement effects based upon studies of that phenomenon. Also see the debate in Goldhaber and Brewer (2000, 2001) and Darling-Hammond et al. (2001).

References

  • American Educational Research Association. (2015). AERA statement on use of Value-Added Models (VAM) for the evaluation of educators and educator preparation programs. Educational Researcher, 10(10), 1–5.

    Google Scholar 

  • American Statistical Association. (2014). ASA statement on using value-added models for educational assessment. Retrieved from http://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf

  • Atteberry, A., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2015). Do first impressions matter? Predicting early career teacher effectiveness. AERA Open1(4), DOI: 10.1177/2332858415607834

  • Boyd, D. J., Grossman, P. L., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2006). How changes in entry requirements alter the teacher workforce and affect student achievement. Education Finance and Policy, 1(2), 176–216.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyd, D. J., Grossman, P. L., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2009). Teacher preparation and student achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 31(4), 416–440.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bridges, E. M. (1992). The incompetent teacher: Managerial responses. New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2013). Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. American Economic Review, 104(9), 2633–2679.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J.L. (2007). How & why do teacher credentials matter for student achievement? Economics of Education Review, 26(6), 673–682.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.) (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darling-Hammond, L., Berry, B., & Thoreson, A. (2001). Does teacher certification matter? Evaluating the evidence, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 23(1), 57–77.

    Google Scholar 

  • Digman, J. (1990). Personality structure of the five factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 417–440.

    Google Scholar 

  • Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., L, & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal intervention. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldhaber, D., & Brewer, D. (2000). Does teacher certification matter? High school teacher certification status and student achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22(2), 129–145.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldhaber, D., & Brewer, D. (2001). Evaluating the evidence of teacher certification: A rejoinder. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 23(1), 79–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldhaber, D., Liddle, S., & Theobald, R. (2013). The gateway to the profession: Assessing teacher preparation programs based on student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 34, 29–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldhaber, D., Walch, J., & Gabele, B. (2014). Does the model matter? Exploring the relationship between different student achievement-based teacher assessments. Statistics and Public Policy, 1(1), 28–39.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grossman, P., & McDonald, M. (2008). Back to the future: Directions for research in teaching and teacher education. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 184–205.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grossman, P., Cohen, J., Ronfeldt, M., & Brown, L. (2014). The test matters: The relationship between classroom observation score and teacher value added on multiple types of assessment. Educational Researcher, 43(6), 293–303.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guarino, C., Reckase, M., & Wooldridge, J. (2015). Can value-added measures of teacher performance be trusted? Education Finance and Policy, 10(1), 117–156.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haertel, E. H. (2013). Reliability and validity of inferences about teachers based on student test scores [PDF document]. William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture Series, Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from http://www.nnstoy.org/download/vam-and-student-growth-models/VAM%20Angoff%20lecture%20ETS.pdf

  • Hanushek, E. A. (1971). Teacher characteristics and gains in student achievement: Estimation using micro data. American Economic Review, 61(2), 280–288.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanushek, E. A. (1997). Assessing the effects of school resources on student performance: An update. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 19(2), 141–164.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanushek E.A., Kain J.F., O’Brien D.M., & Rivkin SG. (2005). The market for teacher quality. NBERWork. Pap. 11154.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2006). Teacher Quality. In E. A. Hanushek & F. Welch, (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of education, Vol 2 (pp 1051–1078). Amsterdam: North Holland.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2010). Generalization about using value-added measures of teacher quality. American Economic Review, 100(2), 267–271.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2011). Teacher training, teacher quality, & student achievement. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7–8), 798–812.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2014). Skills, productivity and evaluation of teacher performance. Economics of Education Review, 40, 183–204.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, D. N., Ingle, W. K., & Rutledge, S. A. (2014). How teacher evaluation methods matter for accountability: A comparative analysis of teacher effectiveness ratings by principal & teacher value-added measures, American Educational Research Journal, 51(1), 73–112.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19(4), 451–464.

    Google Scholar 

  • Inkeles, A. (1966). The socialization of competence. Harvard Educational Review, 36(3), 265–283.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, K. (2012). Non-cognitive ability, test scores, and teacher quality: evidence from 9th grade teachers in North Carolina (NBER working paper no 18624). Retrieved from National Bureau of Economic Research website http://www.nber.org/papers/w18624

  • Jacob, B. A., & Lefgren, L. (2008). Can principals identify effective teachers? Evidence on subjective performance evaluation in education. Journal of Labor Economics, 26(1), 101–136.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jacob, B. A., Lefgren, L., & Sims, D. P. (2008). The persistence of teacher-induced learning. Journal of Human Resources, 45(4), 915–943.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jacob, B., Rockoff, J. E., Taylor, E. S., Lindy, B., & Rosen, R. (2016). Teacher applicant hiring and teacher performance: Evidence from DC public schools (NBER Working Paper Number 22054) Retrieved from National Bureau of Economic Research website http://www.nber.org/papers/w22054

  • Kane, T. J., Rockoff, J.E., & Staiger, D. O. (2008). “What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City. Economics of Education Review, 27(6), 615–631.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kinsler, J. (2012). Beyond levels & growth: Estimating teacher value-added and its persistence. Journal of Human Resources, 47(3), 722–763.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koedel, C., & Betts, J. R. (2007). Re-examining the role of teacher quality in the educational production function (Working Paper No 0708). Retrieved from Department of Economics, University of Missouri website http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2007/wp0708_koedel.pdf

  • Levin, H. M. (2012). More than just test scores. Prospects, 42(3), 269–284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A. (1997). Making students’ evaluation of teaching effectiveness effective: The critical issues of validity, bias, and utility. American Psychologist, 52(11), 1187–1197.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCaffrey, D. F., Sass, T. R., Lockwood, J. R. & Mihaly, K. (2009). “The intertemporal variability of teacher effectiveness estimates. Education Finance & Policy, 4(4), 572–606.

    Google Scholar 

  • McKenzie, P., Santiago, P., Sliwka, P. & Hiroyuki, H. (2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  • Papay, J. (2011). Different tests different answers: The stability of teacher value-added estimates across different outcome measures. American Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 163–193.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Econometrica, 73(2), 417–458.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rockoff, J. E., Jacob, B. A., Kane, T. J., & Staiger D. O. (2011). Can you recognize an effective teacher when you recruit one? Educational Finance & Policy, 6(1), 43–74.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rothstein, J. (2009). Student sorting and bias in value-added estimation: Selection on observables and unobservables. Educational Finance & Policy, 4(4), 537–571.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rothstein, J. (2010). Teacher quality in educational production: Tracking, decay, and student achievement. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 125(1), 175–214.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spence, M. A. (1973). Job market signaling. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87, 355–374.

    Google Scholar 

  • Staiger, D. O., & Rockoff, J. E. (2010). Search for effective teachers with imperfect information. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3), 97–117.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wayne, A. J., & Young, P. (2003). Teacher characteristics and student achievement gains: A review. Review of Educational Research, 73, 89–122.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henry M. Levin .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Levin, H.M. (2017). Empirical Puzzles on Effective Teachers: U.S. Research. In: Rosén, M., Yang Hansen, K., Wolff, U. (eds) Cognitive Abilities and Educational Outcomes. Methodology of Educational Measurement and Assessment. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43473-5_10

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43473-5_10

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-43472-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-43473-5

  • eBook Packages: EducationEducation (R0)