Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Teacher Ed Makes a Difference

I've been away for a month or so but I thought this item was a good one to come back with. It's from Education Week:

Study: Teaching Credentials Still Matter

If you listen to a lot of policy discussions on education, chances are that you've heard one scholar or another stand up to talk about how teacher credentials, such as holding a traditional license or having earned a master's degree, don't seem to matter much when it comes to improving student achievement.

Duke University researcher Helen F. Ladd says that there are two problems with those studies. The studies are: 1) old, and 2) focused mostly on elementary school children.

To gather newer data on the impact of teacher credentials and characteristics on high school students' achievement, Ladd and her research partners took a look at scores from the end-of-course exams that all high school students are required to take in North Carolina. They looked in particular at statewide data for four cohorts of 9th and 10th graders for whom they could find and match up data on their teachers. (The final sample included tens of thousands of students.)The bottom line, the researchers found, was that at the high school level, most measurable teacher credentials do indeed matter. And they have a large enough impact on student achievement, Ladd and her colleagues say, to suggest that they ought to figure into policymakers' decisions on how to raise the quality of instruction in schools.

Read the rest here.