Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Reports Focus on Teacher Quality

Two new reports are out today addressing issues related to teacher quality, and both deserve a close reading.

The first is from the National Council on Teacher Quality, and it’s a “state of the states” report on where teacher evaluations stand nationally. There have been quite a few changes since the group, which advocates for greater accountability and transparency in issues related to teacher effectiveness, published its prior overview in 2011. Thirty-five states are now tying teacher evaluations — and tenure decisions — to student test scores. That’s up from 24 just three years ago. But NCTQ contends there hasn’t been enough progress making sure evaluation data is used in a meaningful way to actually improve the teacher workforce.

The journal Education Next has a new study from researchers Daniel Goldhaber and Joe Walch of the University of Washington, which found the average SAT for new teachers entering the profession climbed eight percentage rank points between 1993 and 2008.  The new study by Goldhaber and Walch is particularly relevant given that  concerns about the low bar set for applicants by many of the nations teacher training programs have moved into the spotlight in recent months. That includes the controversial rankings put out by NCTQ over the summer. You might want to catch up with a recent scathing op-ed by the New York Times’ Bill Keller, in which he called teacher training programs “an industry of mediocrity.”

I’ll be writing more about these issues soon but in the meantime you can get up to speed on the NCTQ report over at EdMedia Commons.  Education Next has an overview of the SAT scores study and access to the full text.