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Evaluating the Validity of Portfolio Assessments for Licensure Decisions - Researchers investigated the relationship among portfolio assessment scores, a test of teacher knowledge (ETS's Praxis I and II) and changes in student achievement. They concluded the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) portfolio scores do distinguish among teachers who were more and less successful in enhancing their students' achievement. They also found the BEST portfolios added information not contained in the Praxis tests, and were more powerful predictors of teachers' contributions to student gains. (Mark Wilson et al., Education Policy Analysis Archives, February 2014)...

2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook National Summary - The National Council on Teacher Quality annually tracks and analyzes teacher policies across all states and the District of Columbia. The Yearbook is mammoth – 226 pages – and can be searched by national findings, by issue, or by state. States get overall grades, based on individual criteria which also are graded. For those interested in particular states, or in comparing states, there is an interactive map. (NCTQ, January 2014)...

Teach for America/Teaching Fellows and Effective Teaching in Secondary Math - Although critics claim that Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows teachers are not as well prepared as traditionally-prepared teachers, this study concludes secondary TFA math teachers are more effective than other math teachers and Teaching Fellows teachers are as effective and, in some cases, more effective than other math teachers in the same schools. The conclusion: TFA and Teaching Fellows teachers offer promising options for high-needs secondary schools. (Mathematica Policy Research, September 2013)...

Leap Year: Assessing and Supporting Effective First-Year Teachers - A teacher’s first year shouldn’t be a “warm-up lap,” but a time to provide feedback, encourage emerging strengths, and make assessments about whether teaching will be a career or considering a different profession is in order. A paper from TNTP emphasizes the first year’s importance and describes its first-year teacher evaluation system, Assessment of Classroom Effectiveness (ACE). Using classroom observations, student surveys, student academic growth data and principal ratings ACE begins to “make teacher certification decisions based on classroom performance and growth, instead of paper qualifications and coursework,” according to the authors year. This paper includes recommendations for policymakers. (Jennifer Mulhern and Erin Grogran, TNTP, 2013)...

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards - A 2008 National Research Council report found that students taught by board-certified teachers had higher achievement test gains than did those taught by non-board-certified teachers, although the differences were small and varied by state. This brief looks at the board’s funding and governance, the certification process, the extent of teacher participation nationally and within Tennessee, the value of certification, and national, regional, state, and local incentives for achieving certification. (OREA, September 2011)...

Do Low-Income Students Have Equal Access to the Highest-Performing Teachers? - This brief describes the prevalence of highest-performing teachers in 10 purposely selected districts across seven states. The overall patterns indicate that low-income students have unequal access, on average, to the district's highest-performing teachers at the middle school level but not at the elementary level. (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, 2011)...

What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Bonuses for Board Certified Teachers? - This paper examines the available evidence in an effort to shed light on what the National Board Certified Teacher bonus program set out to do--reward strong teachers and encourage them to teach in high-poverty schools--and whether it is achieving the desired effects. (Jim Simpkins, Center on Reinventing Public Education, March 2011)...

Not Prepared for Class: High Poverty Schools Continue to Have Fewer In-Field Teachers - Nearly a decade after federal law was enacted to ensure that low-income students and students of color had a fair shot at being assigned to strong teachers, students in high-poverty schools are still disproportionately taught by out-of-field and rookie teachers. Abundant research has concluded that among schoolhouse variables, teacher quality has the single most significant impact on student academic gains. (Sarah Almy and Christina Theokas, The Education Trust, November 2010)...

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