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Journal for Effective Schools

Volume 11, Number 1

Accordingly, federal and state officials and policy makers are advocating teacher education reform that moves from counting inputs (such as the percent of teacher preparation students who pass state certification exams, number of graduates, and placement rates) to measuring outcomes such as student achievement (Alderman, et al., 2011). Also, the Obama Administration is supporting initiatives to improve teacher preparation – both traditional and alternative – by connecting the effectiveness of the certified teachers to both their teacher preparation programs (TPPs) and to their students’ measured academic achievement. The best programs will be scaled up, and the lowest performing will be supported to show substantially improved performance or be closed (Alderman, et al., 2011). To assist this reform, 31 states now require that teacher evaluations be partially based on student achievement growth on standardized tests (Rich, 2013), and in 2012, eight states had policies that included the use of student achievement data to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for their graduates’ effectiveness (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2013). Perhaps more importantly, educational accountability is coming to rely more on teachers’ actual classroom performance and student achievement outcomes – factors within a principal’s influence – rather than in external credentials (such as professional preparation or certification routes) to determine teacher effectiveness (Crowe, 2011). Research Update: Teacher Certification/Preparation, Teacher Effectiveness, and Student Achievement Just as principals want to identify and hire the most effective teachers, education researchers have long been interested in measuring a teacher’s contribution to student achievement (for example, Armour, 1976; Gordon, Kane, & Staiger, 2006; Hanushek, 1971; Mendro, Jordan, Gomez, Anderson, & Bembry, 1998; Murnane & Phillips, 1981; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Rockoff, 2004; Sanders & Horn, 1998). While empirical approaches have differed, each seeks to isolate an estimate of a teacher’s contribution to student achievement separate from the student, class, school, and other contributors. Their recent findings can provide guidance to principals about what to look and ask for when looking to hire effective teachers. Research on teacher certification. Since 2000, investigators have attempted to determine the relative effectiveness of different teacher preparation and certification routes in producing teachers capable of generating student achievement. Their results are bringing needed clarity. First, a teacher’s certification or licensure – the state’s document affirming the holder is qualified to teach certain subjects at identified grade levels in the public schools – improves their effectiveness in generating student learning as compared 5

Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  

Vol. 11, #1