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Eric.ed.gov – Teaching Effectiveness and the Conditions that Matter Most in High-Needs Schools: A Policy Brief

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Over the last decade, policy and business leaders have come to know what parents have always known: teachers make the greatest difference to student achievement. With new statistical and analytical methods used by a wide range of researchers, evidence has been mounting that teacher quality can account for a large share of variance in student test scores. The evidence on the distribution of qualified and effective teachers is also clear–and the findings are not good. Teachers who have met the demanding standards of National Board Certification and those who have generated higher “value-added” student achievement gains are far less likely to teach economically disadvantaged and minority students. As a result, high-poverty schools are more likely to be beset with teaching vacancies in math and special education, and much more likely to staff classrooms with out-of-field, inexperienced and less prepared teachers. Simply stated, the teaching quality gap explains much of the student achievement gap. While most researchers and policy analysts agree about the primary role that teachers play in advancing student achievement, they are often at odds over the best means to identify effective teachers and improve teaching effectiveness. Much controversy swirls around the relationship between the quality of teacher preparation and a teacher’s subsequent effectiveness. Despite the growing complexity of teaching in the 21st century, some journalists have gone so far as to propose that effective teachers are born, not made–and the key to school reform is attracting more of the “right” people into teaching. In sum, the argument is that preparation–even for teaching in the most challenged public schools–is not really needed. What needs to be learned can be accomplished in a few weeks or months–and preferably not by the universities that have traditionally prepared teachers. This brief points out problems with the conventional wisdom about what makes a teacher effective in a high-needs school.

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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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