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Teacher Quality and the Context of Teaching

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					Teacher Quality and the
Context of Teaching
   Adam Gamoran
   University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teacher quality as teacher effects

    Teacher effects are large
        In the sense that which teacher a student has
         makes a difference for achievement
    How large?
        Sanders & Rivers: 3 years with a highly effective
         teacher can boost achievement as much as 50
         percentile points
        Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain: a 1 s.d. increase in
         teacher quality is worth as much as a 10-student
         decrease in class size
        Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges: a 1 s.d. increase
         in teacher quality is worth a 1/3 s.d. increase in
         math achievement, less in reading
Teacher quality as teacher effects

    Qualifications
        What are called “teacher effects” are usually
         a mix of teacher, peer, and other classroom
         effects
             Teachers and classrooms not distinguished
      The mechanisms through which teacher
       effects occur have not been well identified
      The role of the context in which teachers
       work has not been investigated
Teacher effects v. teacher quality

   A  puzzle: if teacher effects are so
     large, why have the mechanisms
     not been identified?
       Inadequate theory
       Inadequate data

       Inadequate measurement tools

    How   can we solve this puzzle?
Sources of teacher/classroom effects

    Teacher characteristics
      Subject matter knowledge
      Experience

      Certification status

    Classroom characteristics
      Track/ability group
      Class size

      Class composition
Sources of teacher/classroom effects

    Classroom activities
        Not what teachers do, but what teachers
         and students do together
             So teaching may be endogenous to students
        Measurement
           Relatively simple in early elementary grades
           More complex as students move up grade levels
Sources of teacher/classroom effects

    Measures of class activities that predict
     achievement
        Coverage of content
           Teacher logs
           Survey of enacted curriculum
Effects of content coverage

                                         Figure 2. Estimated Learning Gains
                                           Le arning G a ins b y Co urs e Ty pe
                                         2 .5



                                            2



       R e g e n ts                      1 .5
       A l g e b ra
       S tr e tch Re g e n ts
                                            1
       M a th A /B /UC S MP
       G e n M t h /P re A lg
                                         0 .5



                                            0
                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                              a   Achievement Growt h, c ont rolling f or content
                                                        Achievement Growt h

                a
   N otes:       A djuste d for stude nt initial sc ore, sex, rac e/ethnicity, previous grade , cla ss socio-econom ic
                 status.
                b
                    Simulated to ha ve con tent covera ge like that of Re gents classe s.

   Source: White e t al. (1997).
Sources of teacher/classroom effects

    Measures of class activities that predict
     achievement
        Instructional strategies
           Reading wars: phonics vs. “whole language”
           Math wars: drill vs. “teaching for understanding”

      In reading, both have proven important
      The same will likely emerge in math
       Effects of kindergarten reading
        instruction (teacher reported)
Class-Level Equation: Effects on Adjusted Mean Achievement Between
Classes
                                                  Model 1                     Model 2
                                         Coefficient         St.      Coefficient    St. Error
                                                            Error
Class percent black                       -0.02 ***        0.003      -0.02 ***       0.003
Class percent Hispanic                    -0.01            0.004      -0.01           0.004
“Whole Language”                                                       0.08 ***         0.02
Instruction
“Phonics” Instruction                                                  0.20 ***         0.03
Whole Class Instruction                                                0.28 **          0.10
Small Group Instruction                                                0.32 **          0.10
Individual Instruction                                                -0.02             0.13
Class Behavior                                                         0.16             0.10

* P>|t| .05   ** P>|t| .01   *** P>|t| .001        Source: Milesi & Gamoran, 2006.
       Effects of kindergarten reading
        instruction (teacher reported)
Class-Level Equation: Effects on Adjusted Mean Achievement Between
Classes
                                                  Model 1                     Model 2
                                         Coefficient         St.      Coefficient    St. Error
                                                            Error
Class percent black                       -0.02 ***        0.003      -0.02 ***       0.003
Class percent Hispanic                    -0.01            0.004      -0.01           0.004
“Whole Language”                                                       0.08 ***         0.02
Instruction
“Phonics” Instruction                                                  0.20 ***         0.03
Whole Class Instruction                                                0.28 **          0.10
Small Group Instruction                                                0.32 **          0.10
Individual Instruction                                                -0.02             0.13
Class Behavior                                                         0.16             0.10

* P>|t| .05   ** P>|t| .01   *** P>|t| .001        Source: Milesi & Gamoran, 2006.
           Effects of kindergarten math
          instruction (teacher reported)
Class-Level Equation: Effects on Adjusted Mean Achievement Between
Classes
                                                  Model 1                     Model 2
                                         Coefficient         St.      Coefficient    St. Error
                                                            Error
Class percent black                       -0.02 ***        0.003      -0.02 ***       0.003
Class percent Hispanic                    -0.01            0.003       0.01 *         0.003
“Teaching for                                                          0.07 ***         0.02
understanding” Instruction
“Drill” Instruction                                                    0.09 ***         0.02
Whole Class Instruction                                                0.07             0.08
Small Group Instruction                                                0.15             0.08
Individual Instruction                                                 0.06             0.09
Class Behavior                                                         0.11             0.08

* P>|t| .05   ** P>|t| .01   *** P>|t| .001        Source: Milesi & Gamoran, 2006.
The context of teacher effects
    Earlier view: school characteristics could
     leverage classroom events
      “Restructuring” studies showed this is not
       correct
      Changing practice reflects teacher learning,
       not school structure
    However, school characteristics may
     enhance or inhibit the relation between
     teacher learning and teaching practice
The context of teacher effects
    Schools with greater capacity for change
     are better able to support improved
     practice
        By capacity, we mean:
           Material resources such as time, money
           Human resources: teacher knowledge, skills,
            and dispositions
           Social resources: relation of trust and shared
            values that allow teachers to discuss new ideas
            and provide a safe environment for change
A study of teacher effects in context

     The “new education sciences” calls for
      rigorous designs that permit causal
      inference
         Can we combine this with:
            Conceptions that draw on disciplinary
             knowledge?
            Opening the “black box” to examine events
             inside classrooms?
         These qualities are needed to identify
          mechanisms of teacher effects
A study of teacher effects in context

     The case of elementary science in Los
      Angeles, CA
       Los Angeles: lowest average score in CA on
        4th grade NAEP science
       CA: lowest average scores in the U.S.

     Improvement strategy: District
      centralized curriculum
A study of teacher effects in context

     Immersion teaching in K-8 science
       Extended, inquiry-based curricular units
       Rigorous content based on California state
        science standards
           Grade 4: Cycling of matter and transfer of
            energy
           Grade 5: Weather forces and prediction
A study of teacher effects in context

     Efficacy trials of immersion teaching
         Positive effects of immersion teaching in a quasi-
          experiment, particularly for African American
          students
         Positive effects of professional development for
          immersion teaching on teacher knowledge in pre-
          post studies
     Implementation challenges
         Simply distributing the curriculum did not change
          practice
     Response: Intensive professional development
A study of teacher effects in context

     Scaling up immersion teaching
       40 treatment schools, 40 control schools
       Power > .80 with n=100 students per
        school, d = .20, covariate correlation = .80
       Treatment = intensive professional
        development for immersion teaching
       All teachers can get the curriculum, but only
        those who get the pd are likely to use it
A study of teacher effects in context

     Allowing for context
       Teacher survey indicators of material,
        human, social resources
       Models will test school-level interaction of
        treatment x capacity
       Expectation is that treatment effects will be
        larger in schools with greater capacity
A study of teacher effects in context

     Strengths of this approach
       Randomized treatment allows for stronger
        causal inference
       Evidence on mechanisms (observations of
        instruction)
       Evidence on context (school capacity)

     Limitation: generalizability
         Evidence on context helps, but does not
          fully resolve this limitation
            Conclusions

 Teacher/classroom effects are large, but
  too little is known about how these
  effects occur
 We need to get inside classrooms to find
  out
 Focus on implementation and context
  will be essential to understanding
  teacher/classroom effects
                          References

   Gamoran, A., and S. Kelly. 2003. Tracking, instruction, and unequal literacy in
    secondary school English. Pp. 109-126 in M. T. Hallinan, A. Gamoran, W.
    Kubitschek, and T. Loveless (Eds.), Stability and change in American education:
    Structure, process, and outcomes. Clinton Corners, NY: Eliot Werner
    Publications.
   Milesi, C., and A. Gamoran. 2006. Effects of class size and instruction on
    kindergarten achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28, 287-
    313.
   Nye, B., Konstantopoulos, S., & Hedges, L. V. (2004). How large are teacher
    effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26, 237-257.
   Rivkin, S.G., Hanushek, E.A. & Kain, J.F. (2005). Teachers, schools and
    academic achievement. Econometrica, 73, 417-458.
   Rowan, B., E. Camburn, and R. Correnti. 2004. Using teacher logs to measure
    the enacted curriculum in large-scale surveys: Insights from the Study of
    Instructional Improvement. Elementary School Journal, 105, 75-102.
   Sanders, W. & Rivers, J. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects of teachers on
    future student academic achievement. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee.
   White, P. A., A. C. Porter, A. Gamoran, and J. Smithson. 1996. Upgrading high
    school math: A look at three transition courses. NASSP Bulletin, 81 (Fall 1997),
    72-83.

				
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