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Journal for Effective Schools

Volume 11, Number 1

available to observe and score different lessons and average them for a more accurate measure of the teacher’s practice. Plus, the labor intensive nature of providing frequent, detailed classroom observations is costly in terms of principals’ time or peer observers’ salaries (Kane, 2012). Finally, even excellent observations can be only one of several valid and reliable means of evaluating teachers. What this means for principals: Principals who make the opportunity to increase their own – and their teachers’ – capacity to observe and assess teaching in their classrooms using detailed, standards-based performance rubrics are better able to identify and support teaching effectiveness. Likewise, since principals are their schools’ culture leaders, they have much influence in creating and sustaining the learning and working environments in which teachers can become more effective. Conclusions In the last decade, much has been learned about the varied factors which make teachers effective. As a result, principals now have more data to consider when making informed decisions about identifying and hiring effective teachers. Research finds that teacher qualifications – degrees, experience, certifications, and teacher test performance – are meaningful, but they show only modest relationship to student achievement. Certification is important to the extent that it is associated with teachers’ instructional practices, content knowledge, and their ability to draw on that knowledge in moment-to-moment classroom interactions. Holding a current teaching license or certification in the content to be taught is a necessary – but not sufficient – condition for effective teaching. Similarly, knowing that a candidate completed a traditional or alternative preparation program, taken by itself, will not help principals differentiate a potentially effective from an ineffective teacher. The distinctions between traditional and alternative preparation routes are not always clear, and more differences exist within teacher preparation pathways than between them. Research finds that the best teacher preparation programs – traditional and alternative – design their courses and experiences around the goal of teaching teachers how to teach. Depending on the specific program considered, alternative certification programs can be just as effective – if not more effective – than traditional programs in producing teachers who can generate student learning. Hence, teacher candidates who come through high-quality traditional or alternative preparation routes show certain similarities. In the end, effectiveness depends on the particular program and its curriculum as well as on the individual teacher’s characteristics and instructional practices – in addition to the principals’ own school and student factors.

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Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  
Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  

Vol. 11, #1

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