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Eric.ed.gov – Equitable Access to Highly Effective Teachers for Tennessee Students

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Decades of research have confirmed that teachers are the most important in-school factor for improving student achievement. Furthermore, studies find that access to effective teachers is most critical for students who struggle academically. Data from Tennessee shows that, on average, students who score at the lowest proficiency level see the largest gains after having a highly effective teacher for two or more consecutive years. Yet, low-performing students are less likely than their higher-performing peers to have access to the best teachers. To improve student achievement for all students, we must work toward ensuring that all students have access to effective teachers and that our lowest-performing students are not systemically assigned to lower-performing teachers. With this goal in mind, this report describes the current landscape of Tennessee students’ access to highly effective teachers by examining both the supply and distribution of highly effective teachers at the state, district, and school levels. This report aims to support districts and schools in examining their teaching data and their teacher-student matching practices to ensure equitable access to highly effective teachers for Tennessee students. Key findings include the following: (1) Students scoring at the lowest proficiency level (below basic) were less likely than students scoring at the highest level (advanced) to have access to highly effective teachers in both math and English language arts (ELA), with larger gaps in math; (2) Across the state, there was a limited supply of highly effective teachers in grades 4-8 ELA, with the average district having only 24 percent of their teaching force considered highly effective; (3) Some districts had very large gaps between advanced students’ access to highly effective teachers versus below basic students’ access to highly effective teachers–signifying that highly effective teachers were concentrated in select schools in the district. Other districts had very small or zero gaps, signifying a greater balance of highly effective teachers across schools in the district; and (4) There was a great variation in regards to advanced versus below basic students’ access to highly effective teachers when researchers examined gaps at the school level. Some schools had very large gaps–signifying that within these schools, students at the highest achievement level had greater access to highly effective teachers. Other schools had negative gaps indicating that, when a gap existed, below basic students had greater access to highly effective teachers than did advanced students. [This report was written with support from the Research and Strategy Team in the Tennessee Department of Education’s Division of Data and Research: Mary Batiwalla, Laura Booker, Sylvia Flowers, Jonathon Attridge, Lila Goldstein, Nate Schwartz, and Zac Stone.]

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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