Improving Teacher Quality: A Sociological Presage

  • Barbara Schneider
  • Erin Grogan
  • Adam Maier
Part of the Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research book series (FSSR, volume 1)


This chapter examines what sociology brings to studies of teacher effectiveness, and why it is imperative for sociological perspectives to be a part of the discussions on teacher accountability systems, measures, and remediation. We begin by reflecting on how policy changes of the past decade have dramatically impacted the jurisdictional authority of teachers. Further, we explore how this shift is linked to the recent focus—by both policymakers and researchers—on economics-based quantitative analysis of teacher effectiveness, including value-added analysis, concluding that this approach to measuring effectiveness risks overlooking other aspects of education which cannot be captured in a test-score gain. We contrast the current emphasis on standardized test scores with a more historical picture of student achievement as the shared function and responsibility of students, teachers, and families. Additionally, we highlight sociological perspectives on measuring occupational competence, underscoring the central role of organizational arrangements and the conditions of the school as related to student achievement. After reviewing this evidence, we propose several future directions for research in sociology of education, emphasizing the processes surrounding teacher hiring, teacher career satisfaction, social supports for struggling teachers, and collaborative work that takes advantage of state data systems.


Student Achievement Student Performance Teacher Effectiveness Sociological Perspective Teacher Performance 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.The New Teacher ProjectKeeneUSA
  3. 3.The New Teacher ProjectRochester HillsUSA

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