Teacher Quality and Ed Schools
Speaking of teacher quality, here's a very interesting paper showing some ed schools in the state of Washington produce more effective teachers than other ed schools. Here's the abstract and conclusions (the entire paper can be downloaded at: www.cedr.us/papers/working/CEDR%20WP%202011-2%20Teacher%20Training%20(9-26).pdf):
Abstract: With teacher quality repeatedly cited as the most important schooling factor influencing student
achievement, there has been increased interest in examining the efficacy of teacher training programs.
This paper presents research examining the variation between and impact that individual teacher training
institutions in Washington state have on the effectiveness of teachers they train. Using administrative data
linking teachers' initial endorsements to student achievement on state reading and math tests, we find the
majority of teacher training programs produce teachers who are no more or less effective than teachers
who trained out-of-state. However, we do find a number of cases where there are statistically significant
differences between estimates of training program effects for teachers who were credentialed at various
in-state programs. These findings are robust to a variety of different model specifications.
Our findings suggest that where teachers are credentialed explains only a very small
portion of the overall variation in the effectiveness of in-service teachers. This is now a common
finding in the educational productivity literature; it appears that the best assessments of teachers
are those based on actual classroom performance rather than pre- or in-service credentials. That
said, the differential in the average effectiveness of the teachers credentialed by various
programs is meaningful, in fact it is at least as important as years of experience and degree level.
This means that improving teacher training has the potential to greatly enhance the productivity
of the teacher workforce.