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Effective Teaching

INTRODUCTION
MET PROJECT
CEPR PROJECTS
CEPR PUBLISHED FINDINGS
CEPR RESOURCES
EXTERNAL RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION
Research consistently shows that teaching is the single most important school-based factor in a student’s academic growth. As such, the topic of effective teaching is at the forefront of CEPR’s research, which includes large national projects, like the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness, and program evaluations, like that of the Boston Teacher Residency. It is CEPR’s goal to have such analyses inform policy decisions and aid in drawing implications for reform.

Please see the published findings and resources below for more information across the many research areas of teacher effectiveness.

MET PROJECT

MET Project
http://www.metproject.org/

CEPR Faculty Director Tom Kane recently led the the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, a $52 million study sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dramatically better student outcomes will require dramatically different teaching. And dramatically different teaching will require better feedback for teachers. The project brought together 3,000 teacher volunteers in six different school districts with dozens of education experts and researchers to reinvent the way teacher evaluations are done.1

1 Though not a CEPR project, the MET project researchers included CEPR Faculty Director and NCTE Principal Investigator Thomas J. Kane, NCTE Co-Principal Investigator Douglas O. Staiger, and SDP Faculty Advisor Andrew Ho.

Have We Identified Effective Teachers? Validating Measures of Effective Teaching Using Random Assignment
January 2013
Kane, T.J., McCaffrey, D.F., Miller, T., & Staiger, D.O.

This report presents an in-depth discussion of the technical methods, findings, and implications of the MET project’s random assignment study of teaching effectiveness measures.
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The Reality of Classroom Observations by School Personnel
January 2013
Ho, A. & Kane, T.J.

This report presents an in-depth discussion of the technical methods, results, and implications of the MET project’s study of video-based classroom observations by school personnel.
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A Composite Estimator of Effective Teaching
January 8, 2013
Mihaly, K., McCaffrey, D.F., Staiger, D.O., & Lockwood, J.R.

This report presents an in-depth discussion of statistical modeling and estimating the parameters of an optimal combined measure of teacher effectiveness using data from the MET project.
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Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching: Culminating Findings of the MET Project's Three-Year Study
January 2013

This non-technical research brief for policymakers and practitioners summarizes recent analyses from
the MET project on identifying effective teaching while accounting for differences among teachers’ students, on combining measures into composites, and on assuring reliable classroom observations.
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For a complete list of MET project reports, see: http://www.metproject.org/reports.php

CEPR PROJECTS

National Center for Teacher Effectiveness (NCTE)
www.gse.harvard.edu/ncte

The National Center for Teacher Effectiveness (NCTE) is a research and development center housed at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and is sponsored by the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

At the core of NCTE’s research is the Developing Measures of Effective Mathematics Teaching study, the goal of which is to identify effective practices for teaching elementary mathematics, as well as characteristics of teachers who are identified as being more effective in mathematics instruction. NCTE will then transform these results into a suite of instruments and training materials (“tools”) intended for use by school principals, content specialists, peer observers and researchers to identify effective teaching practices, improve evaluation systems, and to plan and target teacher training to improve instruction.

The study will have three years of data collection, which began in fall 2010. It is collecting data from several sources, including multiple classroom observations, student assessment data, and teacher and student surveys to accurately capture how teachers impact student achievement.

The Strategic Data Project (SDP)
www.gse.harvard.edu/sdp
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SDP is working with a growing network of school districts, charter schools, and state education agencies to transform their use of data for management and policy decisions. SDP's theory of action is that if we are able to bring together the right people, the right data, and the right analysis, educational leaders can significantly improve decisions, thereby increasing student achievement. SDP fulfills this theory of action with three primary strategies: (1) conducting rigorous "diagnostic" analysis on teacher effectiveness and college-going success using agency data; (2) placing top-notch analysts as data fellows in partner agencies for two years; and (3) distributing our analytic results and learnings to support broad adoption of methods and data use practices throughout the education sector.

The SDP Human Capital Diagnostic is a standard set of analyses that examine several stages in teachers’ career paths, from how they are recruited and assigned to schools, to how their performance changes over time, to whether they remain in the agency or leave. SDP intends for the analyses to identify opportunities for policy changes that could leverage information about the movement and allocation of teachers to improve student achievement. To do so, the diagnostic examines teacher effectiveness patterns and compares these patterns across a combination of teacher, school, and student characteristics.  See more about these patterns in SDP's Strategic Performance Indicator series under the CEPR Published Findings section below.

An Evaluation of the TNTP’s Performance Assessment System 
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this study is examined the relationship of TNTP’s evaluation system for new teachers to student outcomes in Louisiana. Scholars from Brown University and the University of Michigan were also involved in this work.  See more information about the paper, Are Practice-Based Teacher Evaluations and Teacher Effectiveness Linked in TNTP’s "Performance Assessment System (PAS)"?, under the CEPR Published Findings section below.

An Evaluation of the Boston Teacher Residency
Sponsored by the Boston Plan for Excellence, this work examined characteristics of Residents relative to other Boston novices, relative retention rates, and, most importantly, student outcomes.  See more information about the paper, Does Practice-Based Teacher Preparation Increase Student Achievement? Early Evidence from the Boston Teacher Residency, under the CEPR Published Findings section below.

CEPR PUBLISHED FINDINGS

Are Practice-Based Teacher Evaluations and Teacher Effectiveness Linked in TNTP’s "Performance Assessment System (PAS)"?
June 19, 2012
Tyler, J.H, Jacob, B.A., Dougherty, S.M., Hanson, H.J., Fullerton, J.B., & Herlihy, C.M.

The CEPR report, “Are Practice-Based Teacher Evaluations and Teacher Effectiveness Linked in TNTP’s Performance Assessment System (PAS)?” examines the evaluation system for first-year Louisiana teachers trained by TNTP, a national nonprofit organization focused on improving teacher performance.  The authors conclude that there is a modest positive relationship between teachers’ PAS scores and actual student achievement growth in math and reading.  The analysis also suggests that, with some technical improvements, the PAS could become an even better predictor of student academic outcomes.
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Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher When You Recruit One?
February 2009
Jacob, B., Kane, T.J., & Rockoff, J.
NBER Working Paper #14485

The authors administered an in-depth survey to new math teachers in New York City and collected information on a number of non-traditional predictors of effectiveness: teaching specific content knowledge, cognitive ability, personality traits, feelings of self-efficacy, and scores on a commercially available teacher selection instrument. They find that a number of these predictors have statistically and economically significant relationships with student and teacher outcomes. The authors conclude that, while there may be no single factor that can predict success in teaching, using a broad set of measures can help schools improve the quality of their teachers.
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Does Practice-Based Teacher Preparation Increase Student Achievement? Early Evidence from the Boston Teacher Residency
December 15, 2011
Papay, J.P., West, M.R., Fullerton, J.B, & Kane, T.J.
NBER Working Paper

Center researchers John Papay, Martin West, Jon Fullerton, and Thomas Kane investigate the effectiveness of the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) in their working paper Does Practice-Based Teacher Preparation Increase Student Achievement? Early Evidence from the Boston Teacher Residency.  BTR is an innovative practice-based preparation program in which candidates work alongside a mentor teacher for a year before becoming a teacher of record in Boston Public Schools.
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Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation
December 2008
Kane, T.J. & Staiger, D.O.
NBER Working Paper #14607

The authors used a random-assignment experiment in Los Angeles Unified School District to evaluate various non-experimental methods for estimating teacher effects on student test scores. Having estimated teacher effects during a pre-experimental period, they used these estimates to predict student achievement following random assignment of teachers to classrooms. While all of the teacher effect estimates considered were significant predictors of student achievement under random assignment, those that controlled for prior student test scores yielded unbiased predictions and those that further controlled for mean classroom characteristics yielded the best prediction accuracy. In both the experimental and non-experimental data, the authors found that teacher effects faded out by roughly 50 percent per year in the two years following teacher assignment.
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Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data
March 2010
Kane, T.J., Taylor, E.S., Tyler, J.H., Wooten, A.L.
NBER Working Paper #15803

This paper combines information from classroom-based observations and measures of teachers’ ability to improve student achievement as a step toward addressing the challenge of identifying effective teachers and teaching practices. The authors find that classroom-based measures of teaching effectiveness are related in substantial ways to student achievement growth. The authors conclude that the results point to the promise of teacher evaluation systems that would use information from both classroom observations and student test scores to identify effective teachers. Information on the types of practices that are most effective at raising achievement is also highlighted.
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The authors of this paper also wrote an article on their research in the magazine, Education Next. 
“Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: Can Classroom observations identify practices that raise achievement?”

Knowing Mathematics for Teaching: Who Knows Mathematics Well Enough to Teach Third Grade, and How Can We Decide?
Fall 2005
Ball, D.L., Hill, H.C., & Bass, H.
American Educator

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National Board Certification and Teacher Effectiveness: Evidence from a Random Assignment Experiment
June 11, 2008
Cantrell, S., Fullerton, J., Kane, T.J., Staiger, D.O.
NBER Working Paper #14608

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) assesses teaching practice based on videos and essays submitted by teachers. For this study, the authors compared the performance of classrooms of elementary students in Los Angeles randomly assigned to NBPTS applicants and to comparison teachers. The authors conclude that students assigned to highly-rated applicants outperformed those in the comparison classrooms by more than those assigned to poorly-rated teachers. Moreover, the estimates with and without random assignment were similar.
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Strategic Performance Indicator: The Effective Teacher Retention Rate
July 18, 2012
Strategic Data Project

The Strategic Performance Indicator: The Effective Teacher Retention Rate examines how retention rates for novice teachers differ by level of effectiveness. It reveals that there is very little difference in retention rates between the most effective teachers compared to the least effective ones, and that this difference is virtually indistinguishable after the first year. Since districts should ideally try to retain their most effective teachers, and counsel out their least effective ones, this suggests that districts are not yet differentiating retention strategies by teacher effectiveness.
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Download Memo

Strategic Performance Indicator: The Novice Teacher Placement Pattern
July 18, 2012
Strategic Data Project

The Strategic Performance Indicator: The Novice Teacher Placement Pattern examines whether lower-performing students are disproportionately placed in classrooms of novice teachers. SDP researchers observed that first-year teachers are systematically being placed with students who start the year performing considerably behind their peers. These results were seen in each of the districts studied, regardless of the demographic make-up of that district, across all schools in the district. In three of the four districts examined, these patterns persisted within each of the schools as well.
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Download Memo

What Does Certification Tell Us about Teacher Effectiveness?: Evidence from New York City
2008
Kane, T.J., Rockoff, J., & Staiger, D.O.
Economics of Education Review

The authors use six years of data on student test performance to evaluate the effectiveness of certified, uncertified, and alternatively certified teachers in the New York City public schools. The authors conclude that, on average, the certification status of a teacher has at most small impacts on student test performance. Among those with the same certification status, however, there are large and persistent differences in teacher effectiveness. This evidence suggests that classroom performance during the first two years, rather than certification status, is a more reliable indicator of a teacher’s future effectiveness. The authors also evaluate turnover among teachers with different certification status, and the impact on student achievement of hiring teachers with predictably high turnover. Given relatively modest estimates of experience differentials, even high turnover groups (such as Teach for America participants) would have to be only slightly more effective in their first year to offset the negative effects of their high exit rates.
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CEPR RESOURCES

Value-Added Measures: How and Why the Strategic Data Project Uses Them to Study Teacher Effectiveness
March 1, 2012
Strategic Data Project

SDP published this brief to provide leaders and decision-makers with a well-rounded understanding of value-added measures to inform policy and management changes in their school districts and state education agencies. Since value-added measures are integral to the Human Capital Diagnostic, SDP is providing background on how they are calculated, why they are used, and how they compare to other measures of teacher effectiveness. During a time when there is a lot of controversy around teacher evaluation, this brief aims to increase awareness and understanding of the benefits and limitations of value-added measures in a format that is accessible to general audiences.
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EXTERNAL RESOURCES

TNTP
www.tntp.org

TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) is a national nonprofit organization founded by teachers, driven by the knowledge that effective teachers have a greater impact on student achievement than any other school factor. In response, TNTP develops customized programs and policy interventions that enable education leaders to find, develop, and keep great teachers. Since its inception in 1997, TNTP has recruited or trained approximately 49,000 teachers - mainly through its highly selective Teaching Fellows programs - benefiting an estimated 8 million students. TNTP has also released a series of acclaimed studies of the policies and prac­tices that affect the quality of the nation’s teacher workforce, including The Widget Effect (2009), Teacher Evaluation 2.0 (2010), and The Irreplaceables (2012). Today TNTP is active in more than 25 cities, including 10 of the nation’s 15 largest.

"

The SDP team completed the most in-depth study of CMS teachers that we [CMS] had ever done… What we learned provided me, and the entire CMS community, with a new awareness of our internal practices and with a sense that we needed to continue to make fundamental changes… It has changed our culture."

– Pete Gorman, Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), 2006-11

NCTE Strategic Data Project