The Strategic Data Project (SDP), part of Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, has teamed with Los Angeles Public Schools (LAUSD) for the last two years and has just released findings based on “analysis of student achievement data to measure teacher effectiveness.” The formal title of the revealing report is The LAUSD Human Capital Diagnostic.
The report argues that while we have known for some time that teachers are the single most important variable for student success, we have not had the data, or more importantly the accurate analysis of data, to prove this notion fully.
The major policy goal of the SDP is to effectively make use of the wealth of data available today, and they have done this with LAUSD by evaluating student and teacher data between the 2004-5 school year and the 2010-11 school year. SDP looked at “the placement of students to teachers, the usage of extended substitutes, the impact of layoffs based on seniority, the relative success of novice teachers recruited from alternative pathways, and the improved effectiveness of teachers as they gain experience, degrees and certification.”
The most salient results concern teacher placement and development:
- New teachers are too often placed with students who are already behind, only compounding students’ problems.
- Teachers from Career Ladder and Teach for America are better than typical novice teachers.
- National Board Certification is a stronger indicator of teacher effectiveness than is an advanced degree.
- Wide variance in teacher effectiveness indicates a range of possibilities for teacher development.
For more information, and links to the press release and full report, please visit: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/cepr/news-events/index.php