Teacher Effectiveness

This month’s Harvard Magazine has a fascinating article about teacher effectiveness.

Here’s the gist: our public education system focuses hard on pre-qualifying teachers by looking at their education, test scores, and grades. But a new study by Professor Thomas Kane shows that these are all poor predictors of how effective a teacher will be. In fact, teacher effectiveness is almost impossible to predict ahead of time—it must be measured on the job. Kane recommends that

school districts need to open the doors to a wide pool of candidates, certified or not, and then assess each teacher’s value over a three-year trial period—using not only student test scores, but also classroom observations, reviews of student work, and parent evaluations. “If we’re going to be selective,” Kane asks, “why don’t we be selective at the point where we actually have some information?”

I bet Keith Johnstone would agree.

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