Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Identifying Effective Teachers

As a principal I was always interested in how to hire teachers with great promise. I recognized that new teachers become more effective with some experience. But I also noted that some teachers showed extraordinary promise in their first few weeks on the job. So, I am really interested in a recent story in Education Week about a study that examined the individual effectiveness of new mathematics and English/language arts teachers in New York City. It found that teachers who had the greatest impact on student learning in their first year on the job continued to have a positive impact. Teachers who had little impact during the first year continued to have little impact in later years. In other words, they had limited growth. "Teachers in the lowest 20 percent were still likely to be in the lowest 20 percent three to five years later." Similarly, teachers who were initially highest performing were by far the most likely to be the highest performing later in their career. The complete report is available here.

In many states it is far easier to non-renew a teacher during their first few years than later in their career. These results may tell us that, as principals, we need to be far more willing to make "tough" employment decisions during the first couple years of employment.

I'd enjoy hearing from you about the study and it's findings.

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