Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data
Author(s): Kane, Thomas; Taylor, Eric; Tyler, John; Wooten, Amy
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
Published On: 1/1/2010
Recent research has confirmed both the importance of teachers in producing student achievement growth and in the variability across teachers in the ability to do that. Existing literature suggests that quality observation systems should be based on clear, objective standards of practice; be conducted by multiple, trained evaluators; and consider multiple observations and sources of data considered over time. However, the process of teacher evaluation generally remains a perfunctory exercise.
To link student achievement gains to specific teaching practices and behaviors--as opposed to general judgments by principals.
The results demonstrate relationships between practices measured in Cincinnati's Teacher Evaluation System (TES) and student achievement growth. During the TES process, teachers generally receive four evaluations throughout the school year by trained peer evaluators. The TES rating system is based on a rubric that includes four domains, 15 standards and 32 elements that describe the practices, skills and characteristics that effective teachers should possess and employ.
The results further provide strong evidence that classroom observations can capture elements of teaching that are related to student achievement. The following types of classroom practices may be significant in increasing student achievement:
1. Strong "teaching practice" and "classroom environment" skills
2. "Classroom environment" management
3. Using "questioning and discussion" practices (impacts reading achievement, but not math achievement)Note: The authors note that they do not exclude relationships with classroom practices not measured by TES and do not suggest that other TES measures should necessarily be discarded; as a district may value outcomes for its teachers and students beyond growth in standardized test scores.
- 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. A teacher's past student achievement gains are a good predictor of future achievement gains, but measuring classroom practice likely improves the prediction.
- Teacher education and professional development policies and programs should consider ways to help a teacher improve on all eight "teaching practice" and "classroom environment" skills (measured by TES).
Note: The authors caution consideration of these results beyond Cincinnati where the TES system has been developed and honed over a 10 year period. The estimated relationships between classroom practices and student achievement growth might not hold in districts that have less rigorous and less fully developed teacher evaluations systems.
Cincinnati Public School (CPS) teachers participating in TES between 2001 and 2009
Year data is from:
Between 2001 and 2009
Data Collection and Analysis:
Analysis of 2,071 teacher TES evaluations and CPS student panel data for the 2000-01 through 2008-09 school years During the TES process, teachers generally receive four evaluations throughout the school year by trained peer evaluators. The TES rating system is based on a rubric that includes four domains, 15 standards and 32 elements that describe the practices, skills and characteristics that effective teachers should possess and employ.
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