Wednesday, February 1, 2012
High value-add teachers
In an interesting study from Harvard, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers, researchers estimated the impact on students of having one of the best teachers for one year in grades 4 - 8. They compare teachers by value-added or VA, which is a relative measure of how much a student learns under one teacher vs. another. There are immediate benefits as well as significant measurable impacts extending years into adult life. Here are some of the results.
Teachers’ impacts on students are substantial. Replacing a teacher whose true VA is in the bottom 5% with one of average quality would generate cumulative earnings gains of $52,000 per student or more than $1.4 million for the average classroom...
Teachers have large impacts in all the grades we analyze (4 to 8). Teachers’ impacts on earnings are also similar in percentage terms for students from low and high income families...
Overall, our study shows that great teachers create great value 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 counterproductive 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.
The authors mention replacing below-average teachers with above-average teachers. That's one way. Another is an effective program of improving the quality of all teachers continuously.
Posted at 8:59 AM (permalink)
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