Resource Library: Effective Teaching


Common Core State Standards 101: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2013

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent the first time that nearly every state has set common expectations for what students should know and be able to do. In the past, each state set its own standards, and the results varied widely. And while states collectively developed these common standards, decisions about the curriculum and teaching practices for reaching them are made locally. An unprecedented level of activity is now under way to implement the standards. This activity is uneven, and some states are far ahead of others in their efforts. This report will describe the CCSS initiative and its current status. It will discuss how the initiative came about, briefly describe the changes in instruction the CCSS call for, assess the current state of implementation, describe the views of supporters and critics, and discuss some of the keys to ensuring that the standards deliver on their promise.


STEM Teaching and Learning 

Expert Perspectives: Future of Teacher Preparation in the Digital Age: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2013

As schools, classrooms, and districts move toward more sophisticated instructional technologies to successfully implement higher college- and career-ready standards, educator-preparation programs must act quickly to equip future educators with the necessary skills to use technology effectively to personalize instruction and increase student engagement. This Alliance report shares views from experienced educators and national education leaders about the challenges and opportunities of teacher-preparation programs in the digital age.


The Digital Learning Transition MOOC for Educators: Exploring a Scalable Approach to Professional Development: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2013

In conjunction with the relaunch of the Digital Learning Transition (DLT) Massive Open Online Course for Educatos (MOOC-Ed) in September 2013, the Alliance and the Friday Institute released The Digital Learning Transition MOOC for Educators: Exploring a Scalable Approach to Professional Development, a new paper that describes the design of the DLT MOOC-Ed; examines results from the first course as determined from web analytics, analyses of online discussions, and survey data; and offers lessons learned about this new approach to professional development.


Gender Equitable STEM Strategies: Stories from the Field: FHI 360, 2011

This publication shares stories of effective strategies that intermediary organizations and afterschool centers used to carry out the Great Science for Girls Unified Program of Change.





Increasing the Number of STEM Graduates: Business-Higher Education Forum, 2010

To increase the number of students who are proficient in STEM fields, BHEF proposes a number of insights including: the need for a carefully integrated P-12 and higher education strategy, increasing the number of STEM-capable teachers, as wells as increasing student interest in STEM majors and careers.  





Students Who Study STEM in Postsecondary Education: National Center For Education Statistics, 2009 

Overall, only 14% to 23% of all students choose to pursue and STEM degree in college.  Researchers aim to explore the traits and behaviors of those who do. Their findings suggest that students pursuing STEM fields are more likely to start at a four year institution and attend school full time. Men, students of Asian descent, and those 19 or younger were more likely to start in a STEM field.  Some high school predictors of study in a STEM-related field were completion of trigonometry, pre-calculus, and a GPA of B or above. 



Teacher Evaluation 

Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures for Effective Teaching: The MET Project, 2013

States and districts have launched unprecedented efforts in recent years to build new feedback and evaluation systems that support teacher growth and development. The goal is to improve practice so that teachers can better help their students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and beyond. This final brief from the MET project's three-year study addresses three questions: whether effective teaching can be measured, whether classroom observations are reliable, and what weights to attach to multiple measures in evaluation systems.


Gathering Feedback For Teaching: The MET Project, 2012

Teacher observation is seen as a valuable evaluation strategy in that it helps identify strength and weaknesses of the teacher’s pedagogy. If states or districts are to implement high-quality teacher observation models, they will need to include quality assurances such as observer trainings, audits, and multiple observations aligned with other evaluation models, e.g., student feedback and value added models).




Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: Kane, Taylor, Tyler & Wooten, 2011

This report presents findings based on Cincinnati’s model called the Teacher Evaluation System (TES). As teacher performance on TES improves, student achievement also improves.  In math, classroom management was found to be more strongly correlated with student achievement than other measures. In reading, teacher’s ability to engage students in questions and discussion was more predictive student achievement than other measures. 



Improving Teacher Evaluation in California, The Education Trust - West, Teach Plus Los Angeles, 2011

The value of teacher evaluation extends beyond improving student outcomes - it also helps teachers reach their potential, improves retention of effective teachers, and helps administration handle ineffective teachers. The current evaluation system is guided by inefficient and sometimes conflicting state and local policies. The Education Trust recommends moving to a system that helps teachers reach their potential, improve retention of effective teachers, and help administration handle ineffective teachers. 



The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Taylor and Tyler, 2011

This report sets out to uncover the values and deficiencies in the teacher evaluation systems. Overall researchers found evaluation was most effective for lesser-skilled teachers, and led to increased skill development for those that were evaluated. While teacher effectiveness improved during the year the evaluation was conducted, those benefits were not sustained later on. Included in this report is a brief cost/benefit analysis of the model. 



Problems With The Use Of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teacher: Economic Policy Institute, 2010

Value-added measures are not commonly used in the private sector; when they have been employed, they have failed.  After considering this, along with other limitations of VAM, the authors promote a multi-method evaluation system as a better way of truly capturing teacher effectiveness. 





Teacher Evaluation 2.0: The New Teacher Project, 2010

TNTP presents a framework for effective teacher evaluation that contains six components: consistent annual process, clear and rigorous expectations, multiple measures, multiple ratings, regular feedback, and significant influence in tenure, compensation, development, hiring, promotion, and dismissal decisions.   




Teacher Perspectives

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers: MetLife, 2011

Among teachers, parents, students and Fortune 1000 Executives, addressing the needs of diverse learners is considered the highest priority by teachers, followed by parents and then executives. Just 60% of teachers said they were able to differentiate curriculums to meet students' needs, with the ability to do so varying by subject area taught and school culture. Students, for the most part, reported very low levels of perceived differentiation – two student groups that consistently reported that their needs were not met were learning-challenged students and low-income students. 


Teacher Preparation 

Partnering to Prepare Tomorrow's Teachers: FHI 360, 2012

This FHI 360 issue brief highlights ways that universities and schools can enhance existing school–university partnerships and forge new partnerships. Topics include how teacher preparation programs can work with schools to share responsibility for clinical placement opportunities, what models for preparing university graduates for real-world teaching work well and how schools can view university programs as resources for maximizing teacher preparation in an era of higher accountability measures and declining budgets. State and local policymakers can also use this brief to consider how to implement policies and regulations that support effective school–university partnerships.


Professional Development for Teachers: What Two Rigorous Studies Tell Us: MDRC, 2011

This synthesis reviews findings from two rigorous, large-scale evaluations - the Professional Development in Reading Study and the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study. Both interventions had only limited effects on teachers' knowledge and instruction and no impacts on students' test scores. The report ends with suggestions about how professional development might be improved to achieve better results.



UTRU Quality Standards for Teacher Residency Programs: Urban Teacher Residency United, 2010

This report outlines the six core elements of urban teacher residency programs, establishes what quality in each would look like, and what indicators can help evaluate a program’s success in each area. The essential elements identified include program vision, program management, resident recruitment and selection, mentor recruitment, selection and development, a year of residency, and post-residency support. 




Teacher Quality 

Straight Talk on Teaching Quality: Six Game-Changing Ideas and What to Do About Them: Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2011

To improve teacher quality, the Annenberg Institute sets for six ideas and steps for effective implementation.  The six areas include: career ladders, comprehensive evaluation, improved working conditions, professional support networks, teacher collaboration, and creation of community/parent bridges.   




The Elusive Talent Strategy: An Excellent Teacher for Every Student in Every School: Carnegie Corporation, 2011

Improving teacher effectiveness could potentially make students more competitive in the global economy. Specifically focusing on improving preparation and recruitment, increasing professional supports throughout careers, improving teacher assessment and improving teacher retention are promising ways to attract and retain a more effective teaching workforce.  



Not Prepared For Class: High-Poverty Schools Continue to Have Fewer In-Field Teachers: The Education Trust, 2010

Teachers teaching out-of-field typically generate weaker results with students, especially in math. While NCLB attempted to end out-of-field teaching, it still persists especially in low income districts. In this report the Education Trust puts forth a series of policy recommendations for both state and district level decision makers geared towards ending this practice. 



The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications: CALDER, 2010

Overall, the impact of teacher experience on student achievement was most significant in elementary school, and in math. Unfortunately, teacher inexperience is one of the many aspects of poor teacher quality that plague low-income neighborhoods at greater rates than high income neighborhoods, exacerbating the already troubling achievement gap. In this report, the Urban Institute lays out some policy options that could be implemented to improve teacher effectiveness.