Teacher Qualifications and Student Performance  Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

They computed a variety of measures to determine whether there was in fact a narrowing of a gap between teacher qualifications across wealthier and poorer schools and found that there was. This narrowing -- indicative of changes in hiring practices and policies as a result in NCLB, was positively correlated with improved test scores in those districts with higher poverty populations.

The researcher felt there was some possibility, as indicated in the study by Milanowski, Kimball, and White above, that more experience was not necessarily better. This was presumably because educational qualifications become stagnant or outdated over time. In order to test a related question, whether there was some minimal level of qualifications that was necessary, above which additional qualification did not matter, the researcher reviewed the literature. Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor (2006) studied a database of teacher qualifications and students assessment scores for all North Carolina schools and found that the relationship between teacher qualification and student achievement on assessments was positively related, although it could vary from subject to subject. However, having a Master's degree or other advanced training did not necessarily result in improved scores.

Discussion

This research compilation was conducted in order to determine whether teacher qualifications are related to student assessment scores. The findings from the literature indicate that they in fact are. In settings as diverse as major urban areas and small learning centers in rural areas, and across a timeframe spanning from pre- NCLB to a post-NCLB period which seems to indicate its effects, teacher qualifications do seem to be linked to student achievement on test scores. Moreover, this seems to be the case no matter which forms of measurement of teacher qualification are utilized. According to the research literature considered here, completion of teacher certification programs are positively associated with student assessment performance, as are evaluations according to teaching standards. Throughout the literature reviewed here, teachers who are more qualified seem to have students who perform better on standardized testing.

There is of course the one caveat noted above. There does seem to be a level of certification which is necessary in order to improve students' scores, but above which additional qualification does not matter. Regarding the possibility that negative association with more experience and assessment performance found by Milanowski, Kimball, and White indicates a similar finding, it remains to be seen whether that finding was due to (statistically irrelevant) additional qualifications or simple teacher malaise.

Finally, it should be noted that the findings above do not necessarily speak to the issue of quality of education. The fact that teacher qualifications are related to student assessment performance could be due to the possibility that the qualified teacher are more likely to know how to prepare a student for high-stakes testing. Teachers who might otherwise be fully capable of inspiring their students to attain quality education may not be schooled in test-prep methods by not having gone through formalized training programs.

Conclusion

The study of the link between teacher qualifications and student assessment performance seems to establish a firm conclusion here that supports the case of NCLB supporters. Teacher qualifications are related to student performance on standardized tests. The researcher reviewed and developed a summary analysis of several important data-based studies that determined the link between teacher qualifications and student assessment performance to be valid across different types of schools, in different regions of the country, and for different time periods. While additional research should be conducted to address the issue of whether there is some optimal level of qualification, this study does establish that such a link exists.

References

Berliner, D. (2005). The near impossibility of testing for teacher quality. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(3) (May/June): 205-213.

Boyd, D., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Rockoff, J., and Wyckoff, J. (2008) The Narrowing Gap in New York City Teacher Qualifications and Its Implications for Student Achievement in High-Poverty Schools. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(4): 793 -- 818.

Clotfelter, C. Ladd, H, and Vigdor, J. (2006). Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. NBER Working Paper No. 11936. Cambridge, Massachusetts: National Bureau of Economic Reasearch.

Darling-Hammond, Linda. (2000). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1). Retrieved from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v8n1/.

Kimmelman, P. (2006). Implementing NCLB: creating a knowledge framework to support school improvement Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Milanowski, A., Kimball, S., and White, B. (2004). The Relationship Between Standards-Based Teacher Evaluation Scores and Student Achievement: Replication and Extensions at Three Sites. CPRE-UW Working Paper Series TC-04-01. Retrieved from http://cpre.wceruw.org/papers/3site_long_TE_SA_AERA04TE.pdf.

Schlusmans, K. (1978). What is an effective teacher? Paper presented at the conference for the international association for educational assessment. Baden Austria.

U.S. Department of Education. (2006). The Secretary's Fifth Annual Report On Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/2006-title2report.pdf.

Annotated Bibliography

Berliner, D. (2005). The near impossibility of testing for teacher quality. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(3) (May/June): 205-213.

This paper presents a descriptive analysis of different routes to teacher certification, including traditional and alternate routes as presented in a variety of states. The paper summarizes findings from research and suggests that no definitive conclusions can be reached relevant to the efficacy of either type of certification route.

Boyd, D., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Rockoff, J., and Wyckoff, J. (2008) The Narrowing Gap in New York City Teacher Qualifications and Its Implications for Student Achievement in High-Poverty Schools. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(4): 793 -- 818.

The paper considers the effect of teacher sorting across NYC schools in order to determine whether NCLB has achieved espoused goals of putting qualified teachers in every classroom. Focusing especially on schools in high poverty areas, the researcher utilizes a variety of teacher, students, and school data to compute correlational analysis and show that better teachers are in fact getting into poorer schools. They argue that this has resulted in higher student assessment performance, and support the claim with correlational analysis.

Clotfelter, C. Ladd, H, and Vigdor, J. (2006). Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. NBER Working Paper No. 11936. Cambridge, Massachusetts: National Bureau of Economic Reasearch.

This study was conducted over a 10-year period with data in N. Carolina, linking teacher qualifications and student assessment scores. The authors find that the relationship between qualifications and scores is generally positive, although it varies from subject to subject. Also, they find that having advanced degrees and qualifications does not necessarily indicate better performance, suggesting that there is an optimal qualification level.

Darling-Hammond, Linda. (2000). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1). Retrieved from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v8n1/.

This pre-NCLB study utilizes a variety of data to show that teacher qualifications -- as determined by both state policy and actual evaluation data is linked to high assessment performance. The author argues that this supports the case for policy approaches that emphasize teacher qualification as a way to improve student scores.

Kimmelman, P. (2006). Implementing NCLB: creating a knowledge framework to support school improvement Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

This book provide an overview of the NCLB policy and practice debates, and addresses data-driven decision making specifically as a way to improve scores.

Milanowski, A., Kimball, S., and White, B. (2004). The Relationship Between Standards-Based Teacher Evaluation Scores and Student Achievement: Replication and Extensions at Three Sites. CPRE-UW Working Paper Series TC-04-01. Retrieved from http://cpre.wceruw.org/papers/3site_long_TE_SA_AERA04TE.pdf.

This analysis compares teacher evaluations in three different state sites (Ohio, California, and Nevada) to determine that teacher evaluation data is positively related to student performance on assessments. The authors find that even when controlling for student, teacher, and school variables, the link between qualifications and assessment is valid.

Schlusmans, K. (1978). What is an effective teacher? Paper presented at the conference for the international association for educational assessment. Baden Austria.

This paper presents an early view of what constituted teacher qualifications.

U.S. Department of Education. (2006). The Secretary's Fifth Annual Report On Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/2006-title2report.pdf.

This government report presents a basic overview of the role that teacher qualifications play in the NCLB policy.

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