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Queries and Replies

Replies to Query:


What are some good measures of "teacher quality"?

Reply 1:

Teacher quality is a complex phenomenon, and there is little consensus on what it is or how to measure it. For example, definitions range from those that focus on what should be taught and how knowledge should be imparted to the kinds of knowledge and training teachers should possess. There are, however, two broad elements that most observers agree characterize teacher quality: (1) teacher preparation and qualifications, and (2) teaching practices. The first refers to preservice learning (e.g., degrees held, teaching certification), teaching assignment (certification in subject(s) taught, teaching in-field), and continued learning (e.g., availability/extent of induction activities, mentoring, professional development activities, and collaboration with other teachers). The second refers to the actual behaviors and practices that teachers exhibit in their classrooms. Of course, these two elements of teacher quality are not independent; excellent teacher preparation and qualifications should lead to exemplary teaching behaviors and practices. Jere Brophy and Tom Good have been conducting research in this area for about 35 years, and have published numerous articles on what constitutes good teaching. Brophy recently published an article synthesizing the characteristics of quality instruction. You may wish to conduct an on-line Web or ERIC search on these authors and this topic for ideas. Another good source is Teacher Quality: A Report on the Preparation and Qualifications of Public School Teachers (Publication Code NCES 1999-080). This report, based on a national sample of teachers, found that only 28 percent of them felt very well prepared to use student performance assessment techniques; 41 percent reported feeling very well prepared to implement new teaching methods; and 36 percent reported feeling very well prepared to implement state or district curriculum and performance standards. If you use a survey as a part of your evaluation, these are some items that you may wish to include, since national comparative data exists.


Joy Frechtling, 2/9/2001