Education Drivers

Quality Teachers Overview

Abundant knowledge informs us that teachers play the pivotal role in student success. A comparison of key variables reveals that teachers lead all other school factors with an effect size between 0.30 and 0.42. More important, how teachers instruct and interact with students is the cornerstone around which effective schools are built. To maximize teacher performance, preparation programs must recruit the best possible talent, train candidates using teaching practices supported by the best available evidence, and employ evidence-based pedagogical methods. Research supports an explicit model of instruction that emphasizes teachers as the active agents responsible for planning, delivering, and monitoring instruction. In such a system, teachers provide systematic instruction tied to standards and goals. Using research-based pedagogy, they instruct students in concepts, skills, and knowledge linked to higher order thinking founded on student mastery of foundation skills in key subjects such as reading, mathematics, and writing. Effective teachers must monitor and adjust teaching strategies to meet the needs of gifted students and those who are struggling. Finally, quality teachers require ongoing mentoring and oversight from principals to ensure quality teaching is supported and maintained over time.

Abundant knowledge informs us that teachers play the pivotal role in student success. A comparison of key variables reveals that teachers lead all other school factors with an effect size between 0.30 and 0.42 (Wenglinsky, 2002; Hattie, 2009). More important, how teachers instruct and interact with students is the cornerstone around which effective schools are built. To maximize teacher performance, preparation programs must recruit the best possible talent, train candidates using teaching practices supported by the best available evidence, and employ evidence-based pedagogical methods. Research supports an explicit model of instruction that emphasizes teachers as the active agents responsible for planning, delivering, and monitoring instruction. In such a system, teachers provide systematic instruction tied to standards and goals. Using research-based pedagogy, they instruct students in concepts, skills, and knowledge linked to higher order thinking founded on student mastery of foundation skills in key subjects such as reading, mathematics, and writing. Effective teachers must monitor and adjust teaching strategies to meet the needs of gifted students and those who are struggling. Finally, quality teachers require ongoing mentoring and oversight from principals to ensure quality teaching is supported and maintained over time.

Which competencies make the biggest difference? An examination of the research on education practices that make a difference shows that four classes of competencies yield the greatest results.

  1. Instructional delivery
  2. Classroom management
  3. Formative assessment
  4. Personal competencies (soft skills) 

Further, the research indicates that these competencies can be used to organize the numerous specific skills and knowledge available for building effective teacher development.

Instructional delivery: Research tells us what can be expected from a teacher employing instructional strategies and practices that are proven to lead to increased mastery of lessons. Better learning happens in a dynamic setting in which teachers offer explicit active instruction than in situations in which teachers do not actively guide instruction and instead turn control over content and pace of instruction to students (Hattie, 2009). 

Comparing Instructional Approaches

Is there a diverse set of practices that teachers can efficiently and effectively use to increase mastery of content for a variety of curricula? The structured and systematic approach of explicit instruction emphasizes mastery of the lesson to ensure that students understand what has been taught, become fluent in new material, and can generalize what they learn to novel situations they encounter in the future.

The following are hallmarks of an explicit approach for teachers (Archer & Hughes, 2011; Knight, 2012).

  1. Teacher selects the learning area to be taught.
  2. Teacher sets criteria for success.
  3. Teacher informs students of criteria ahead of the lesson.
  4. Teacher demonstrates to the students successful use of the knowledge/skills through modeling.
  5. Teacher evaluates student acquisition.
  6. Teacher provides remedial opportunities for acquiring the knowledge/skills, if necessary.
  7. Teacher provides closure at the end of the lesson.

A common complaint of an explicit instruction approach is that it does not offer sufficient opportunities for students to build on acquired knowledge/skills in creative and novel ways that help them to assimilate the material. The reality is that all effective instruction, regardless of philosophy, must aid students in generalizing newly taught knowledge/skills in a context that is greater than a single lesson. An explicit model accomplishes the goal of building toward “big ideas” by first emphasizing mastery of foundation skills such as reading and mathematics, and then systematically introducing opportunities to integrate these critical skills in discovery-based lessons to maximize students’ experience of success.

Effective explicit instruction practices include these features.

  1. Well-designed and planned instruction: Instruction that is well planned moves students from their current level of competency toward explicit criteria for success.
    • Instructional design with clear instructional objectives: The teacher should present these objectives to students for each lesson.
    • Scope and sequencing: The teacher should teach the range of related skills and the order in which they should be learned.
  2. Instruction that offers sufficient opportunities for successful acquisition:
    • High rates of responding for each student to practice the skill: The teacher should provide sufficient opportunities for unpunished errors and ample reinforcement for success.
    • Sufficient quantity of instruction: The teacher should allocate enough time to teach a topic.
  3. Teaching to mastery: Students need to learn the knowledge/skills to criteria that are verified by teachers or students’ peers.
  4. Teaching foundation knowledge/skills that become the basis for teaching big ideas: Current lessons should be built on past knowledge to increase fluency and maintain mastery of material. The teacher should relate lessons to complex issues and big ideas that provide deeper meaning and give students better understanding of the content.

 

Classroom management: Classroom management is one of the most persistent areas of concern voiced by school administrators, the public, and teachers (Evertson & Weinstein, 2013). Research consistently places classroom management among the top five issues that affect student achievement.

To put its in perspective, classroom management was associated with an increase of 20% in student achievement when classroom rules and procedures were applied systematically (Hattie, 2005).

A good body of research highlights four important areas that classroom teachers should be proficient in to create a climate that maximizes learning and induces a positive mood and tone.

  1. Rules and procedures: Effective rules and procedures identify expectations and appropriate behavior for students. To be effective, these practices must be observable and measurable.
    • Schoolwide rules and procedures: Clearly stated rules identify, define, and operationalize acceptable behavior specific to a school. These rules, applicable to all students, are designed to build pro-social behavior and reduce problem behavior in a school. They distinguish appropriate from problem behavior as well as specify consequences for infractions.
    • Classroom rules and procedures: Another set of clearly stated rules establishes acceptable behavior specific in a classroom. These rules need to be consistent with schoolwide rules, but may be unique to meet the needs of an individual classroom.
  2. Proactive classroom management: These are the practices that teachers and administrators can employ to teach and build acceptable behavior that is positive and helpful, promotes social acceptance, and leads to greater success in school. The key to proactive classroom management is active teacher supervision. The practice elements that constitute active supervision require staff to observe and interact with students regularly. The goal is to build a positive teacher-student relationship by providing timely and frequent positive feedback for appropriate behavior, and to swiftly and consistently respond to inappropriate behaviors.
  3. Effective classroom instruction: The key to maintaining a desirable classroom climate is to provide students with quality instructional delivery aligned to the skill level of each student. This enables students to experience success and keeps them attentive.
  4. Behavior reduction: These practices, designed to reduce problem and unacceptable behavior, are employed in the event the first three strategies fail. Behavior reduction strategies include giving students corrective feedback at the time of an infraction, minimizing reinforcement of a student’s unacceptable behavior, and guiding students in how to behave appropriately.

Formative assessment: Effective ongoing assessment, referred to in education literature as formative assessment and progress monitoring, is indispensable in promoting teacher and student success. It is frequently listed at the top of interventions for school improvement (Walberg, 1999).

Feedback, a core component of formative assessment, is recognized as an essential tool for improving performance in sports, business, and education. Hattie (2009) identified feedback as the single most powerful educational tool available for improving student performance, with a medium to large effect size ranging from 0.66 to 0.94.

Formative assessment consists of a range of formal and informal diagnostic testing procedures, conducted by teachers throughout the learning process, for modifying teaching and adapting activities to improve student attainment. Systemic interventions such as Response to Intervention (RtI) and Data-Based Decision Making depend heavily on the use of formative assessment (Hattie, 2009; Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). 

The following are the practice elements of formative assessment (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986).

  1. Assessment: (Effect size 0.26) Assessing a student’s performance throughout a lesson offers a teacher insight into who is succeeding and who is falling behind. It is important that teachers collect and maintain data gained through both informal and formal assessments.
  1. Data display: (Effect size 0.70) Displaying the data in the form of a graphic has a surprisingly powerful effect on formative assessment’s usefulness as a tool.
  1. Data analysis following defined rules: (Effect size 0.90) Formative assessment is most valuable when teachers use evidence-based research and their own professional judgment to develop specific remedial interventions, before it is too late, for those falling behind.

Personable competencies (soft skills): An inspiring teacher can affect students profoundly by stimulating their interest in learning. It is equally true that most students have encountered teachers who were uninspiring and for whom they performed poorly. Unfortunately, effective and ineffective teachers have no readily discernable personality differences. Some of the very best teachers are affable, but many ineffective instructors can be personable and caring. Conversely, some of the best teachers appear as stern taskmasters, but whose influence is enormous in motivating students to accomplish things they never thought possible.

What soft skills do successful teachers have in common? Typically, the finest teachers display enthusiasm and excitement for the subjects they teach. More than just generating excitement, they provide a road map for students to reach the goals set before them. The best teachers are proficient in the technical competencies of teaching: instructional delivery, formative assessment, and classroom management. Equally significant, they are fluent in a multilayered set of social skills that students recognize and respond to, which leads to greater learning (Attakorn, Tayut, Pisitthawat, & Kanokorn, 2014). These skills must be defined as clear behaviors that teachers can master for use in classrooms.

Indispensable soft skills include:

  1. Establishing high but achievable expectations
  2. Encouraging a love for learning
  3. Listening to others
  4. Being flexible and capable of adjusting to novel situations
  5. Showing empathy
  6. Being culturally sensitive
  7. Embedding and encouraging higher order thinking along with teaching foundation skills
  8. Having a positive regard for students

What does research tell us about personal competencies? Quantitative studies provide an overall range of effect sizes from 0.72 to 0.87 for effective teacher-student relations. Better teacher-student relations promote increased student academic performance and improve classroom climate by reducing disruptive student behavior (Cornelius-White, 2007; Marzano, Marzano & Pickering, 2003).

Conclusion

There is abundant research to support the notion that teachers play the critical role in improving student achievement in schools. What teachers do in the classroom is crucial in this process. The breadth of high-quality research accumulated over the past 40 years offers educators a clear picture of how to maximize teacher competency in four critical categories: instructional delivery, classroom management, formative assessment, and personal competencies. There is now ample evidence to recommend these competencies as the core around which to build teacher preparation, teacher hiring, teacher development, and teacher and school evaluations.

Citations

Archer, A. L., & Hughes, C. A. (2011). Explicit instruction: Efficient and effective teaching. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Attakorn, K., Tayut, T., Pisitthawat, K., & Kanokorn, S. (2014). Soft skills of new teachers in the secondary schools of Khon Kaen Secondary Educational Service Area 25, Thailand. Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences, 112, 1010–1013.

Babu, S., & Mendro, R. (2003). Teacher accountability: HLM-based teacher effectiveness indices in the investigation of teacher effects on student achievement in a state assessment program. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Chicago, IL, April.

Cornelius-White, J. (2007). Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis. Review of educational research, 77(1), 113–143.

Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. New York, NY: Routledge.

Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1986). Effects of systematic formative evaluation: A meta-analysis. Exceptional Children, 53(3), 199–208.

Hattie, J., (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.

Jackson, P. W. (1990). Life in classrooms. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Knight, J. (2012). High-impact instruction: A framework for great teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Sanders, W. L., & Rivers, J. C. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects of teachers on future student academic achievement. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Value-Added Research and Assessment Center. Retrieved from http://heartland.org/policy-documents/cumulative-and-residual-effects-teachers-future-student-academic-achievement.

Walberg, H. (1999). Productive teaching. In H. C. Waxman & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), New directions for teaching practice and research (pp. 75–104). Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing.

Wenglinsky, H. (2002). How schools matter: The link between teacher classroom practices and student academic performance. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10(12).

White, W. A. T. (1988). A meta-analysis of the effects of direct instruction in special education. Education and Treatment of Children, 11(4), 364–374.

Yeh, S. S. (2007). The cost-effectiveness of five policies for improving student achievement. American Journal of Evaluation, 28(4), 416–436.

Publications

TITLE
SYNOPSIS
CITATION
Thirty years of Getting Teachers to be More Effective
This paper presents a model for building a school organizational culture that trains and supports teachers in an effective, efficient, and sustainable manner.
Fitch, S. (2013). Thirty years of Getting Teachers to be More Effective Retrieved from ../../uploads/docs/2013WingSummitSF.pdf.

 

Data Mining

TITLE
SYNOPSIS
CITATION
How do teacher working conditions impact teacher turnover?
This item analyzes teacher reports of differing working condition issues and how they correlate to student achievement.
Keyworth, R. (2009). How do teacher working conditions impact teacher turnover? Retrieved from how-do-teacher-working.
What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance?
This item analyzes teacher reports of differing working condition issues and how they correlate to student achievement.
Keyworth, R. (2009). What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance? Retrieved from what-is-relationship-between900.
What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance?
This item analyzes teacher reports of working conditions how this correlates to student performance.
Keyworth, R. (2009). What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance? Retrieved from what-is-relationship-between901.
Are Schools Adequately Attracting and Retaining Teaching Staff?
This inquiry analyzes data from National Center for Education Statistics to look at the impact of race experience and age on teacher recruiting and retention.
Keyworth, R. (2010). Are Schools Adequately Attracting and Retaining Teaching Staff? Retrieved from are-schools-adequately-attracting899.
Does teacher induction impact teacher turnover for beginning teachers?
This analysis examines evidence on the influence of teacher induction programs on reducing teacher turnover.
Keyworth, R. (2010). Does teacher induction impact teacher turnover for beginning teachers? Retrieved from does-teacher-induction-impact884.
How Much Formal Training Do Teachers Get?
The analysis reviews school teacher earned degree data obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Digest of Education Statistics (2008).
Keyworth, R. (2010). How Much Formal Training Do Teachers Get? Retrieved from how-much-formal-training.
What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance?
This inquiry looks at the effect of time on the job and the quality of a teacher's skills.
Keyworth, R. (2010). What is the relationship between teacher working conditions and school performance? Retrieved from what-is-relationship-between882.
What is the status of experimental research on teacher induction?
This analysis reviews the quality of research on the effectiveness of teacher induction programs.
Keyworth, R. (2010). What is the status of experimental research on teacher induction? Retrieved from what-is-status-of.
How Do Teacher Turnover Rates Differ Among Schools With Different Percentages of Minority Students?
This piece analyzes data from National Center for Education Statistics to look at the impact of race on teacher attrition and mobility.
Keyworth, R. (2011). How Do Teacher Turnover Rates Differ Among Schools With Different Percentages of Minority Students? Retrieved from how-do-teacher-turnover898.
How Do Teacher Turnover Rates Differ Among Schools With Different Socio-Economic Conditions?
This inquiry analyzes data from National Center for Education Statistics to look at the impact of poverty on teacher attrition and mobility.
Keyworth, R. (2011). How Do Teacher Turnover Rates Differ Among Schools With Different Socio-Economic Conditions? Retrieved from how-do-teacher-turnover897.
How Has Percent of Teacher Turnover Changed Over Time?
This piece analyzes data from National Center for Education Statistics to look at trends in teacher turnover for public and private schools.
Keyworth, R. (2011). How Has Percent of Teacher Turnover Changed Over Time? Retrieved from how-has-percent-of.
How Has Teacher Turnover Changed Over Time?
This analysis lookes at data from National Center for Education Statistics to look at trends in teacher turnover.
Keyworth, R. (2011). How Has Teacher Turnover Changed Over Time? Retrieved from how-has-teacher-turnover.
What percentage of new teachers receive induction services?
This probe examines the increasing use of teacher induction as a tool for offering new teachers training and support.
Keyworth, R. (2011). What percentage of new teachers receive induction services? Retrieved from what-percentage-of-new.

 

Presentations

TITLE
SYNOPSIS
CITATION
Thirty years of Getting Teachers to be More Effective
This paper presents a model for building a school organizational culture that trains and supports teachers in an effective, efficient, and sustainable manner.
Fitch, S. (2013). Thirty years of Getting Teachers to be More Effective [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2013-wing-presentation-suzanne-fitch.
ROKs: Remote Observation Kits
This paper presents a teacher coaching model using high quality audio and video technology to address the needs of teacher training in remote areas.
Hager, K. (2013). ROKs: Remote Observation Kits [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2013-wing-presentation-karen-hager.
Effective Teaching Practices: Narrowing the Field
This paper distills the research on effective teaching practices to basic assumptions and core practices. It presents a impact-cost paradigm for rating and prioritizing such practices.
Heward, W. (2013). Effective Teaching Practices: Narrowing the Field [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2013-wing-presentation-william-heward.
Teacher Professional Development
This paper reviewed the current research on best practices for teacher training, the current model for teacher training, and the gaps between research and practice.
Keyworth, R. (2013). Teacher Professional Development [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2013-wing-presentation-redux-randy-keyworth.
Project AIM: Assess, Improve & Maintain Effective Teaching Practices
This paper shared a model for teacher assessment and professional development that address theneeds of large school districts in an effective and efficient manner.
Lewis, T. (2013). Project AIM: Assess, Improve & Maintain Effective Teaching Practices [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2013-wing-presentation-teri-lewis.
From "Learning to Learn" to "Training to Teach": Changing the Culture of Teacher Preparation
This paper discusses the results of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s first nation-wide study of 2,420 university teacher preparation programs across 1,130 institutions.
McKee, A. (2014). From "Learning to Learn" to "Training to Teach": Changing the Culture of Teacher Preparation [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2014-wing-presentation-arthur-mckee.
TITLE
SYNOPSIS
CITATION
Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know

This paper examines teacher education textbooks for discussion of research-based strategies that every teacher candidate should learn in order to promote student learning and retention.

Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Learning_About_Learning_Report.

Visible learning

This influential book is the result of 15 years research that includes over 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school-aged students. This is a great resource for any stakeholder interested in conducting a serious search of evidence behind common models and practices used in schools.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. A synthesis of over, 800.

Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning

This book takes over fifteen years of rigorous research into education practices and provides teachers in training and in-service teachers with concise summaries of the most effective interventions and offers practical guidance to successful implementation in classrooms.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Routledge.

TITLE
SYNOPSIS
Alliance for Excellent Education
This organization is a national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.
America Achieves | Home
America Achieves draws upon experts with proven track records to identify and support exemplar initiatives and programs in education.
American Association for Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs, providing support, policy leadership, and advocacy.
American Institutes for Research (AIR)
AIR is one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations. Its research focus includes most aspects of K-12 education.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
This organization develops and delivers innovative programs, products, and services to educators in support student learners with a focus on professional development support.
Bellwether Education Partners
Bellwether Education Partners is a nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Brown Center on Educational Policy
This is national nonprofit public policy organization that conducts research and makes recommendations on a awide range of issues affecting American K-12 education.
Calder: Longitudinal Data in Education Research
CALDER is a National Research and Development Center that utilizes longitudinal state and district data on student and teachers to examine the effects of real policies and practices on the learning gains of students over time.
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute provides research, analyses and advocacy on a wide range of education issues.
Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA)
CEPA is a research center focusing education policy issues including Poverty and Inequality; Federal and State Education Policy; Technological Innovations in Education; and Teaching and Leadership Effectiveness.
Center for Educational Leadership
The Center for Educational Leadership provides research and training in teaching effectiveness and school leadership.
Center for Public Education (CPE)
The Center for Public Education provides up-to-date research, data, and analysis on current education issues and explores ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for public schools.
Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE)
CRRE is a research center who’s major goal is to improve the quality of education through high-quality research and evaluation studies and the dissemination of evidence-based research.
Center on Education Policy (CEP)
CEP is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools.
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students.
Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL)
CTL is research center that conducts and disseminates research that focuses on practical solutions to serious problems in school systems.
Common Core of Data (CCD)
CCD is a program of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States
Condition of Education
The Condition of Education is an annual report on key indicators of the U.S. education system. It is published by the Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE)
CPRE looks at issues of teacher compensation, school finance, and principal evaluation for PK20.
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
CCSSO is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues.
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