Teaching and Leadership Effectiveness

Is Effective Teacher Evaluation Sustainable? Evidence from DCPS

Ten years ago, many policymakers viewed the reform of teacher evaluation as a highly promising mechanism to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Recently, that enthusiasm has dimmed as the available evidence suggests the subsequent reforms had a mixed record of implementation and efficacy. Even in districts where there was evidence of efficacy, the early promise of teacher evaluation may not sustain as these systems mature and change. This study examines the evolving design of IMPACT, the teacher evaluation system in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum

An extensive theoretical and qualitative literature stresses the promise of instructional practices and content aligned with the cultural experiences of minority students. Ethnic studies courses provide a growing but controversial example of such “culturally relevant pedagogy.” However, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these courses is limited. In this study, we estimate the causal effects of an ethnic studies curriculum piloted in several San Francisco high schools.

Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

Teachers in the United States are compensated largely on the basis of fixed schedules that reward experience and credentials. However, there is a growing interest in whether performance-based incentives based on rigorous teacher evaluations can improve teacher retention and performance. The evidence available to date has been mixed at best. This study presents novel evidence on this topic based on IMPACT, the controversial teacher-evaluation system introduced in the District of Columbia Public Schools by then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Different teachers, different peers: The magnitude of student sorting within schools

In this study we use administrative data from three large urban school districts to describe student sorting within schools. Our data allow us to link students to each of their teachers and to identify students’ classmates. We find differences in the average achievement levels, the racial composition, and the socioeconomic composition of classrooms within schools. This sorting occurs even in self-contained elementary school classrooms and is much larger than would be expected if students were assigned to classrooms randomly.

Dollars and sense

Though the dramatic effects that teachers have on student achievement are indisputable, the exact ingredients of effective teaching are anything but settled. Questions about how to value experience, education, certification, and pedagogical skills—the big four of teacher inputs—have created one of the most highly contentious fields of inquiry in education, particularly since they have clear implications for the design of teacher compensation systems.

Examining teacher turnover: The role of school leadership

From a nationwide perspective, the number of teachers leaving schools in the United States – frequently referred to as teacher turnover – is not very large. Between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, for instance, 83.5% of teachers stayed in the same school, while only 8.1% transferred between schools and 8.4% left teaching (Marvel et al.,2007). However , averages rates hide the fact that some schools lose teachers frequently, particularly schools serving black and low-achieving students (Hanushek et al., 2004; Boyd et al., 2007).