Publication Year: 2017

Understanding Principal Retention and Mobility in Washington State

Published January 2017

The work of a school principal is complex and multi-faceted. Expectations for the role are steadily rising, and questions have surfaced regarding the capacity of principals to meet all of these expectations. In recent years, Washington state has engaged in numerous instructional improvement and accountability initiatives, including revisions to the way in which educators are evaluated. A sizable portion of the workload associated with these initiatives rest on the shoulders of school principals and assistant principals. A recent study noted that principals work an average of 59 hours per week (Lavigne, Shakman, Zweig, & Zeller, 2016).  Little systematic and statewide knowledge exists about the nature of the school administrator workforce and the career patterns of principals in Washington state. This study aims to provide insight into the demographics of principals and assistant principals, their retention, mobility, and career patterns, and the equity issues associated with differences across schools in Washington state.

 

Understanding Teacher Retention and Mobility in Washington State

Published January 2017

Teacher retention and mobility are part of a larger state and national conversation about trends in the teacher workforce. This study aims to provide insight into the demographics of Washington teachers and their retention and mobility patterns, and to offer educators and policymakers in Washington state information to inform and enhance decision-making regarding teacher quality policies and practices.  

 

 

Publication Year: 2010

Examining the Impact of Reduction in Force (RIF) Notices in Washington School Districts: 2009-2010

A Report Prepared for The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, March 2010
Published January 2010

Nearly half of Washington school districts issued layoff notices to teachers and other school staff during the 2008-09 school year. This report examines the impact of Reduction in Force (RIF) notices issued in Washington state during this time. Among teachers who received a RIF notice, 87 % were rehired in the K-12 education system in Washington in the subsequent year. The study examines the characteristics of individuals who received RIF notifications, the types of schools and districts that issued notices, and the impact of RIF on the retention and mobility of the educator workforce.

Study of the Incentive Program for Washington's National Board Certified Teachers

A report prepared for Washington State Board of Education, June 2010.
Published January 2010

This study examines the impact of Washington state's incentives for teachers to attain National Board Certification and to work in challenging schools. Using surveys and secondary analyses of state databases, we examine the workforce both prior to and following recent changes in the incentive program. The study considers the nature of NBCTs' assignments, their distribution, retention and mobility patterns compared with other teachers statewide, and the views of teachers and principals regarding NB certification and the state's incentives. The study concludes with policy implications and options for future consideration.

Publication Year: 2009

Building Systems of Support for Classroom Teachers Working with Second Language Learners

A Report Prepared for The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession by Ana M. Elfers, Tom Stritikus, Kristin Percy Calaff, Kerry Soo Von Esch, Audrey Lucero, Michael S. Knapp, & Margaret L. Plecki, July 2009
Published January 2009

Leading for Learning Improvement in Urban Schools

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Bradley S. Portin, Michael S. Knapp, Scott Dareff, Sue Feldman, Felice A Russell, Catherine Samuelson & Theresa Ling Yeh, with the assistance of Chrysan Gallucci & Judy Swanson, Oct. 2009.
Published January 2009

Taking Stock of Washington's Workforce: An Assessment of Conditions Prior to the Economic Downturn

A Report Prepared for The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, November 2009.
Published January 2009

This report provides baseline descriptive statistics and recent trend data on Washington's teacher workforce prior to the recent economic downturn. The trend data includes information regarding teacher age, experience, race/ethnicity, and retention and mobility, as well as school and district characteristics. In addition, district retention and mobility data is included for each school district and Educational Service District in Washington state. From this baseline, we can examine the extent and nature of the impact of current and future fiscal stress on the state's teacher cadre.

Publication Year: 2008

Undergraduates' Views of K-12 Teaching as a Career Choice

A Report Prepared for The Professional Educator Standards Board by Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Elise St. John, Rebecca Wedel
Published January 2008

Publication Year: 2007

High School Teachers in the Workforce: Examining Teacher Retention, Mobility, School Characteristics and School Reform Efforts

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki and Michelle McGowan, July 2007.
Published January 2007

Teaching Math in Washington's High Schools: Insights from a Survey of Teachers in High Performing or Improving Schools

A Research Report by Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Michael S. Knapp, Gahram J. Yeo, and Michelle McGowan, June 2007
Published January 2007

Who's Teaching Washington's Children? A 2006 Update

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Margaret L. Plecki, Ana M. Elfers, and Michael S. Knapp, January 2007.
Published January 2007

Publication Year: 2006

An Examination of Longitudinal Attrition, Retention, and Mobility Rates of Beginning Teachers in Washington State

A Report prepared for the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies by Margaret L. Plecki, Ana M. Elfers, and Michael S. Knapp, June 2006.
Published January 2006

Examining Teacher Retention and Mobility in Small and Rural Districts in Washington State

A Research Report by Ana M. Elfers and Margaret L. Plecki, November 2006.
Published January 2006

Leadership and Learning

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Michael S. Knapp, Michael A. Copland, Margaret L. Plecki, and Bradley S. Portin, October 2006.
Published January 2006

This report maps out activities and supporting conditions in states, districts, and schools, that enable educational leadership to exert productive influence on learning. The report draws together threads from the research literature and from practical experimentation in a variety of states, districts, and schools, as described in greater detail within six reports that comprise the Improving Leadership for Learning series. From these sources, the report authors offer an overview of the systems of leadership support that guide leaders' efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools across the nation.

National Board Certified Teachers in Washington State: Impact on Professional Practice and Leadership Opportunities

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Hilary Loeb, Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Brynnen Ford, and Michael S. Knapp, October 2006.
Published January 2006

Publication Year: 2005

Preparation and Support for Teaching: Teachers' Response to State Education Reform

A Working Paper prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Ana M. Elfers, Michael S. Knapp, Amrita Zahir, and Margaret L. Plecki, March 2005.
Published January 2005

Teacher Retention and Mobility: A Look Inside and Across Districts and Schools in Washington State

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Margaret L. Plecki, Ana M. Elfers, Hilary Loeb, Amrita Zahir, and Michael S. Knapp, March 2005.
Published January 2005

Teachers Count: Support for Teachers' Work in the Context of State Reform

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Michael S. Knapp, Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Hilary Loeb, and Amrita Zahir, August 2005.
Published January 2005

Publication Year: 2004

Curriculum Materials: Scaffolds for New Teacher Learning?

A Research Report by Pam Grossman and Clarissa Thompson, January 2004
Published January 2004
Abstract:

<p>This report looks at how three secondary English teachers responded to the curriculum materials they encountered as new teachers. The authors were particularly interested in knowing how the materials helped the new teachers learn about teaching language arts. To this end, the authors explored the teachers' perception and use of two sets of curriculum materials—Teaching the Multiparagraph Essay and Pacesetter English. The authors examined the materials to see what, if any, opportunities for teacher learning were embedded in them. They also considered how the teachers' prior knowledge, both of the subject matter and of approaches to teaching language arts, affected how they responded to and used the material. The authors found that the teachers in the study spent an enormous amount of time searching out curriculum materials for their classes and that the curriculum materials they encountered did, indeed, powerfully shape their ideas about teaching language arts as well as their ideas about classroom practice. The authors describe a trajectory for the teachers' use of the curriculum materials. New teachers begin by sticking close to the materials they have at hand. Then, over time, as they learn more about both students and curriculum, they adapt and adjust what they do, and their use of the materials opens up as they become more willing to play with and take liberties with the materials. The authors argue that new and aspiring teachers need opportunities to analyze and critique curriculum materials. This would begin during teacher education and continue in the company of their more experienced colleagues. Such curricular conversations are helpful to all but especially to new teachers who tend to latch on uncritically to whatever curriculum they are handed.</p>

Derived from a study of beginning language arts teachers (see District Policy and Beginning Teachers: Where the Twain Shall Meet, elsewhere on this web site), this Research Report captures the ways curriculum (or its absence) guides what is learned level about instructional practice, and how, by new language arts teachers in secondary schools. The report underscores how potent curriculum policy can be for shaping teachers' early attempts to establish a secure professional repertoire.

Development and Deployment of a Fast Response Survey System in Washington State: Methodological Notes

A Working Paper commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Ana M. Elfers, Michael S. Knapp, and Margaret L. Plecki, with Beth Boatright and Hilary Loeb, April 2004.
Published January 2004

Making Subject Matter Part of the Equation: The Intersection of Policy and Content

An Occasional Paper by Pam Grossman, Susan S. Stodolsky, and Michael S. Knapp, December 2004.
Published January 2004

This conceptual paper offers a framework for understanding how educational policy is related to subject matter. Drawing on literature concerning instructional policymaking and the cultures that surround teaching in different subject areas, the paper distinguishes and illustrates three types of policy, that ignore, target, or differentiate among subject matter areas, respectively. The paper then demonstrates, for each type, how subject matter acts as a crucial context for policy implementation and effects, affecting the policy's impact in often unintended ways. Typically ignored by policy research, these dynamics have special importance for the analysis of reform policies, as well as for the making of policies aimed at teaching and learning.

Preparation and Support for Teaching: Support for Teachers' Professional Learning

A Working Paper commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Ana M. Elfers, Beth Boatright, and Michael S. Knapp, with Margaret L. Plecki and Hilary Loeb, June 2004
Published January 2004

Preparation and Support for Teaching: Teachers' Assignment and Certification

A Working Paper commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Ana M. Elfers, Michael S. Knapp, and Margaret L. Plecki, with Beth Boatright, and Hilary Loeb, April 2004.
Published January 2004

Preparation and Support for Teaching: Working Conditions of Teachers

A Working Paper commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Hilary Loeb, Ana M. Elfers, Michael S. Knapp, and Margaret L. Plecki, with Beth Boatright, May 2004.
Published January 2004

Preparing for Reform, Supporting Teachers' Work: Surveys of Washington State Teachers, 2003-04 School Year

A Summary Report commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Michael S. Knapp, Ana M. Elfers, and Margaret L. Plecki, with Hilary Loeb, Beth Boatright, and Nick Cabot, August 2004.
Published January 2004

The Relation Between State and District Literacy Standards: Issues of Alignment, Influence, and Utility

A Research Report by Elizabeth Dutro and Sheila W. Valencia, January 2004.
Published January 2004
Abstract:

<p>At the core of standards-based reform are content standards—statements about what students should know and be able to do. Although it is state standards that are the focus of much public attention and consume substantial resources, many local school districts have developed their own content standards in the major subject areas. However, we know very little about the role state standards have played in local standards efforts. In this article we report on a study of the relationship between state and local content standards in reading in four states and districts. Through interviews with key personnel in each state and district and analyses of state and local content standards in reading, we explored the alignment between state and district content standards, the path of influence between the two, and the role of high-stakes tests in state and districts reform efforts. Our findings suggest that alignment had multiple meanings and that state standards had differential utility to districts, ranging from helpful to benign to nuisance. This wide variability was influenced by the nature of the standards themselves, the state vision of alignment and local control, districts' own engagement and commitment to professional development, and student performance on high-stakes tests. We explore implications for the future of content standards as the cornerstone of standards-based reform and argue that states must promote district ownership and expand accountability if state content standards are to have any relevance for local efforts to reform teaching and learning.</p>

This Research Report explores how state content standards in reading affect local content standards. The study, undertaken in four states, shows that under the guise of alignment between state and local standards, there is considerable variability, and that the usefulness of the state's efforts to promote local standards-based reform in this areas of the curriculum depends on various attributes of the state policy, the characteristic relationship between state and local level, and local engagement in professional development.

Publication Year: 2003

Examining investments in teacher professional development: A look at current practice and a proposal for improving the research base

Published January 2003

In Plecki, M.L. & Monk, D.H. (Eds.) School Finance and Teacher Quality: Exploring the Connections. The 2003 Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association. Larchmont, NJ: Eye on Education: 137-156

Is There Really a Teacher Shortage?

A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, September 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>Contemporary educational thought holds that one of the pivotal causes of inadequate school performance is the inability of schools to adequately staff classrooms with qualified teachers. It is widely believed that schools are plagued by shortages of teachers, primarily due to recent increases in teacher retirements and student enrollments. This report summarizes a series of analyses that have investigated the possibility that there are other factors—tied to the organizational characteristics and conditions of schools—that are behind school staffing problems. The data utilized in this investigation are from the Schools and Staffing Survey and its supplement, the Teacher Followup Survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. These data indicate that school staffing problems are not primarily due to teacher shortages, in the sense of an insufficient supply of qualified teachers. Rather, the data indicate that school staffing problems are primarily due to a revolving door—where large numbers of qualified teachers depart their jobs for reasons other than retirement. The data show that the amount of turnover accounted for by retirement is relatively minor when compared to that associated with other factors, such as teacher job dissatisfaction and teachers pursuing other jobs. This report concludes that teacher recruitment programs—traditionally dominant in the policy realm—will not solve the staffing problems of such schools if they do not also address the organizational sources of low teacher retention.</p>

In this report, Richard Ingersoll builds on his hypothesis that school staffing problems are due largely to excess demand resulting from high pre-retirement turnover and not solely or even primarily to supply-side deficits in the quantity of teachers produced. He also addresses criticisms of those who argue that concern over teacher turnover is exaggerated.

Leading for Learning Sourcebook: Concepts and Examples

A CTP Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation, February 2003.
Published January 2003

This 112-page report is the document on which the 32-page summary was based. It discusses ideas in greater depth and offers more examples of the ideas at work.

Leading for Learning: Reflective Tools for School and District Leaders

A CTP Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation, February 2003.
Published January 2003

A 32-page, research-based report that addresses links between leadership and learning. Three learning agendas are discussed and five ways to address those agendas are detailed.

Meeting the Needs of Failing Readers: Cautions and Considerations for State Policy

An Occasional Paper by Marsha Riddle Buly and Sheila Valencia, April 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>Every year thousands of students fail state reading tests and every year policymakers and educators search for strategies to help these students succeed. In this study, we probed beneath students' failing scores on a state reading assessment to investigate the specific reading abilities that may have contributed to student performance. We found that scores on state tests mask distinctive and multifaceted problems having to do with word identification, fluency, and meaning. Our findings are a caution to policymakers and educators who may be tempted to treat the same all students who score below standard on statewide reading assessments that now proliferate the education landscape. To do so is to miss the different instructional emphases called for by the underlying skills, strategies, and needs of failing students. Such a practice not only limits individual student progress; it may lead to an oversimplification of reform efforts and evaluation. This report presents reading profiles of failing students and discusses five areas-instruction; multiple indicators; alignment among standards, assessment, and instruction; allocation of resources; and evaluating reform-as potential policy levers for improving student performance in reading.</p>

In this CTP Occasional Paper, the authors' findings are a caution to policymakers and educators who may be tempted to treat the same all students who score below standard on statewide reading assessments. By probing beneath student's failing scores on a 4th-grade state reading assessment, the authors found that scores masked distinctive and multifaceted problems having to do with 1) word identification, 2) fluency, and 3) meaning. To have treated the same all students who had failed would have been to miss the different instructional emphases called for by their underlying skills, strategies, and needs. The paper presents reading profiles of failing students and discusses five potential areas as potential policy levers for improving student performance in reading.

Organizing schools for student and teacher learning: An examination of resource allocation choices in reforming schools

Published January 2003

<p>In Plecki, M.L. &amp; Monk, D.H. (Eds.) School Finance and Teacher Quality: Exploring the Connections. The 2003 Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association. Larchmont, NJ: Eye on Education</p>

Out-of-Field Teaching and the Limits of Teacher Policy

A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, September 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>The failure to ensure that the nation's classrooms are all staffed with qualified teachers is one of the most important problems in contemporary American education. Over the past decade, many panels, commissions, and studies have focused attention on this problem and, in turn, numerous reforms have been initiated to upgrade the quality and quantity of the teaching force. This report focuses on the problem of underqualified teachers in the core academic fields at the 7-12th grade level. Using data from the nationally representative Schools and Staffing Survey, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, this analysis examined how many classes are not staffed by minimally qualified teachers, and to what extent these levels have changed in recent years. The data show that while almost all teachers hold at least basic qualifications, there are high levels of out-of-field teaching—teachers assigned to teach subjects that do not match their training or education. Moreover, the data show that out-of-field teaching has gotten slightly worse in recent years, despite a plethora of reforms targeted to improving teacher quality. The report discusses possible reasons for the failure of these reform efforts. My thesis is that, despite the unprecedented interest in and awareness of this problem, there remains little understanding of a key issue—the reasons for the prevalence of underqualified teaching in American schools—resulting thus far in a failure of teacher policy and reform. I conclude by drawing out the lessons and implications of these failures for the prospects of the No Child Left Behind Act to successfully address the problem of underqualified teachers in classrooms in the coming years.</p>

In this report, Richard Ingersoll focuses on trends over the past decade in the level of underqualified teachers in schools and why recent reforms have failed to adequately address this problem.

Triage or Tapestry? Teacher Unions' Work Toward Improving Teacher Quality in an Era of Systemic Reform

A Research Report by Nina Bascia, June 2003
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>his report looks at and identifies emerging trends in the roles that teacher unions play in educational reform and improving the quality of teaching. A description of the efforts of six teacher unions to improve teacher quality within the context of the current systemic reform movement shows a range and depth of union initiatives beyond what is commonly known in policy research. The report highlights organizational strengths of teacher unions, the unique contributions they make to teacher quality, and some of the challenges they face. Two broad conceptions of systemic reform in support of improving teaching quality—triage and tapestry—are presented and contrasted. When educational improvement is understood as a tapestry of efforts that requires multiple initiatives in many arenas by many reform players, unions appear to perform several important and unique functions toward improving teacher quality.</p>

By examining the work of six teacher unions, this report considers the contributions that teacher unions make toward improving the quality of teaching in today's context of systemic reform.

Understanding Reading Test Failure: Challenges for State and District Policy

Policy Brief 8, July 2003
Published January 2003

Using Student Work to Support Professional Development in Elementary Mathematics

A Working Paper by Elham Kazemi and Megan Loef Franke, April 2003
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>It is commonly argued that teachers need ongoing engagement with ideas about student reasoning, pedagogy, and subject matter if they are to make sense of the complex demands of current reforms in mathematics education. Drawing on similar arguments about the potential benefits of using student work to organize professional development, this study charts the development of one teacher workgroup over a year. The analysis addresses two questions: (a) How did teachers' talk about student work develop? and (b) What kinds of mathematical and pedagogical issues were raised as a result of their ongoing and changing talk? The study locates teacher learning in their interactions with one another in the workgroup. In monthly cross-grade meetings teachers brought and discussed student work that was generated by a similar mathematical problem posed to students in each of their classrooms. We document the teachers' efforts to detail their students' reasoning and discuss how their engagement with mathematical and pedagogical concerns created opportunities for teacher learning. We discuss the implications of this work for organizing teachers' collective deliberations about student reasoning and pedagogy.</p>

This CTP Working Paper charts the evolving conversations and pedagogical learning of one teacher workgroup as it met over the course of a year to discuss student work in elementary mathematics. Chronicled are details of the teachers' efforts to make sense of their students' reasoning in solving base ten system problems. The paper is organized into six sections that reflect the trajectory of the workgroup. The authors reflect upon that trajectory of teachers' talk to make several conjectures about the use of student work and the potential opportunities for learning that examining student work opens up for teachers. One such conjecture is that examining it is a promising way of beginning to work with a diverse group of teachers.

Who's Teaching Washington's Children? What We Know-and Need to Know-About Teachers and the Quality of Teaching in the State

A Technical Report commissioned by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Margaret Plecki, Ana Elfers, and Michael S. Knapp, August 2003
Published January 2003

Publication Year: 2002

District policy and beginning teachers

Published January 2002

ERS Spectrum: Journal of School Research and Information, 20,12-22.

Out-of-Field Teaching, Educational Inquality, and the Organization of Schools: An Exploratory Analysis

A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, January 2002.
Published January 2002
Abstract:

<p>Contemporary educational theory holds that one of the pivotal causes of inadequate student achievement, especially in disadvantaged schools, is the inability of schools to adequately staff classrooms with qualified teachers. Deficits in the quantity of teachers produced and in the quality of preparation prospective teachers receive have long been singled out as primary explanations for underqualified teaching. In this study, I hypothesize that the manner in which schools are organized and in which teachers are utilized can account for as much of the problem of underqualified teaching as do inadequacies in teacher training or the supply of teachers. This analysis specifically focuses on a little recognized source of underqualified teaching the problem of out-of-field teaching—teachers being assigned by school administrators to teach subjects that do not match their training or education. I use data from the Schools and Staffing Survey—a large, comprehensive, nationally representative survey of teachers conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The results show that while most teachers, even in disadvantaged schools, hold basic qualifications, a significant proportion of these qualified teachers, especially in disadvantaged schools, are assigned to teach classes out of their fields. Data also show that out-of-field teaching is not primarily due to school hiring difficulties resulting from teacher shortages. In contrast, the analysis shows that a number of aspects of the administration and organization of schools are significantly related to out-of-field teaching. For example, school district regulations concerning minimal education requirements for new hires, the quality of principal leadership, the strategies schools use to cope with teacher recruitment and hiring, and average school class sizes all have an independent association with the extent of out-of-field teaching in schools, after controlling for other factors.</p>

This research report examines the practice of out-of-field teaching as a possible source of underqualified teaching in U.S. schools.

School District Spending on Professional Development: Insights Available from National Data (1992-1998)

Published January 2002

<i>Journal of Education Finance</i>, 28 (1), 25-49. <i>(This article is available on the CTP web site with permission from The Association of School Business Officials International. Any variation in appearance from the printed document is due to technical limitations.)</i>

The Organization of Schools as an Overlooked Source of Underqualified Teaching

Policy Brief 7, December 2002.
Published January 2002

Understanding How Policy Meets Practice: Two Takes on Local Response to a State Reform Initiative

An Occasional Paper by Michael S. Knapp, June 2002.
Published January 2002
Abstract:

<p>This paper explores the connections between policy and instructional practice through a close reading of contrasting studies and through an exploration of ways, prompted by the studies, to develop better conceptualizations of policy-practice connections. The two studies each examined the same policy case (the early implementation of the California Mathematics Framework more than a decade ago) from different vantage points-the first paying close attention, from the inside-out, to the response of a teacher to the state reform policy, and the second focusing, from the outside-in, on the way the policy's enactment generated changes in local policy implementation and support systems. The contrast between the studies brings to light conceptual blind spots in each research perspective that make it difficult to ascertain whether the studies offer contradictory or complementary understandings of the case and that may lead to under- or over-estimates of policy effects. Further conceptual work suggested by the paper would enable scholars to entertain richer pictures of policy, instruction, and avenues of policy influence on instruction.</p>

In this CTP Occasional Paper, Center Director Mike Knapp explores connections between policy and instructional practice by analyzing two studies that employed different and contrasting research perspectives to examine the same policy case-the early implementation of the California Mathematics Framework. In reviewing the studies, Knapp discusses the conceptual blind spots of each perspective and suggests conceptual work that would enable scholars to entertain richer pictures of policy, instruction, and avenues of influence on instruction.

Publication Year: 2001

A Case of Successful Teaching Policy: Connecticut's Long-Term Efforts to Improve Teaching and Learning

A Research Report by Suzanne M. Wilson, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Barnett Berry, February 2001.
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>In this monograph, the authors describe Connecticut's long-term efforts to implement a comprehensive set of teaching quality policies to support improved student learning. The authors begin by describing the 15-year evolution of policies designed to recruit, prepare, and support teachers, while also creating greater accountability for the acquisition of knowledge and skills on the part of both students and teachers. That description is followed by a summary of the large concomitant gains in student achievement in both mathematics and literacy and an evaluation of competing explanations for these gains. The authors conclude by hypothesizing that the power of Connecticut's teaching policy reforms lies not simply in their comprehensiveness and in the state's political stability over the last decade but also in the power of the policies to build capacity in all participants: teachers, students, administrators, teacher educators, and state department staff alike.</p>

This Research Report describes 15-years' worth of successful effort by Connecticut to implement a comprehensive set of teaching quality policies to support improved student learning. The authors hypothesize that the power of Connecticut's teaching policy reform lies not simply in their comprehensiveness and in the state's political stability over the last decade but also in the power of policies to build capacity in teachers, students, administrators, teacher educators and state department staff. A Policy Brief based on this report is also available.

A Different Approach to Solving the Teacher Shortage Problem

Policy Brief 3, authored by Richard Ingersoll, January 2001.
Published January 2001

Connecticut's Story: A Model of State Teaching Policy

Policy Brief 4, June 2001
Published January 2001

District Policy and Beginning Teachers: Where the Twain Shall Meet

A Research Report by Pamela Grossman, Sheila Valencia, and Clarissa Thompson, June 2001
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>This analysis considers what role district policy environments play in the lives of beginning teachers. As part of a longitudinal study of teacher learning in the language arts, the authors followed 10 teachers from their final year of teacher education into their first three years of teaching. In this paper, they examined the role that policies concerning curriculum, professional development, and mentoring in two reform-active districts played in shaping the experiences and concerns of three first-year language arts teachers. The questions asked in the study locate it at the intersection of two distinct literatures—the literature on beginning teachers and the literature on the relationship of policy and practice. Whereas other studies on beginning teacher concerns have taken a psychological perspective, focusing on the individual teacher as the explanatory factor, this study employs a more sociocultural view, looking at the broader contexts in which individual teachers work. The authors found that the two districts served powerful roles as teacher educators. The tasks the districts assigned the teachers, the resources they provided, the learning environments they created, the assessments they designed and the conversations they provoked proved to be consequential for what the teachers came to learn about language arts teaching and teaching in general.</p>

This Research Report looks at the role that policies concerning curriculum, professional development, and mentoring in two reform-active districts played in shaping the experiences and concerns of three first-year language arts teachers.

Revisiting What States Are Doing to Improve the Quality of Teaching: An Update on Patterns and Trends

A Working Paper by Eric Hirsch, Julia E. Koppich, and Michael S. Knapp, February 2001.
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>This updated version of the 1998 CTP Working Paper What States Are Doing to Improve the Quality of Teaching takes a fresh look at recent developments in realms of state policy related to teacher and teaching quality. Paying closest attention to recent legislative activity, the analysis describes state-level policy action pertaining to: (1) development and promotion of high standards for student learning and for teaching; (2) attempts to attract, reward, and retain capable people in the teaching profession; (3) support for high-quality initial preparation and induction of new teachers; (4) attempts to motivate and support teachers' ongoing professional learning; and (5) enhancements to the school workplace environment. The results indicate that states have been particularly active with respect to the development of teacher standards and assessments, approaches to a growing recruitment challenge, more proactive ways to improve teacher preparation (and hold teacher education institutions accountable), and some targeted efforts to strengthen professional development. While the paper is descriptive, not evaluative, the authors call in their concluding remarks for more coherent, data-informed policy related to the quality of teachers and teaching, yet acknowledge the difficulty of bringing this about at the state level.</p>

This updated version of an earlier CTP Working Paper takes a fresh look at recent developments in the realms of state policy related to teacher and teaching quality. The broad-brush, descriptive analysis covers state-level policy action pertaining to (1) development and promotion of high standards for student learning and for teaching; (2) attempts to attract, reward, and retain capable people in the teaching profession; (3) support for high-quality initial preparation and induction of new teachers; (4) attempts to motivate and support teachers' ongoing professional learning; and (5) enhancements to the school workplace environment.

Steady work: The story of Connecticut's school reform.

Published January 2001

American Educator, (Fall 2001), 34-39 & 48.

Teacher Preparation Research: Current Knowledge, Gaps, and Recommendations

A Research Report by Suzanne M. Wilson, Robert E. Floden, and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, February 2001
Published January 2001

The Research Report summarizes what research has to say about five key issues in teacher preparation: subject matter preparation, pedagogical preparation, clinical training, preservice teacher education policies, and alternative certification. The report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education and the Office for Educational Research and Improvement by CTP in collaboration with researchers at Michigan State University. An executive summary of the report is also available.

Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis.

Published January 2001

American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 499-534.

Teacher Turnover, Teacher Shortages, and the Organization of Schools

A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, January 2001
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>Contemporary educational theory holds that one of the pivotal causes of inadequate school performance is the inability of schools to adequately staff classrooms with qualified teachers. Contemporary theory also holds that these staffing problems are primarily due to shortages of teachers, which, in turn, are primarily due to recent increases in teacher retirements and student enrollments. This analysis investigates the possibility that there are other factors that might have an impact on teacher turnover levels, and, in turn, the staffing problems of schools, factors rooted in the organizational characteristics and conditions of schools. The data utilized in this investigation are from the Schools and Staffing Survey and its supplement, the Teacher Followup Survey, a large, comprehensive, nationally representative survey of teachers and schools conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The results of this analysis show that, net of teacher effects, there are significant effects of school characteristics and organizational conditions on teacher turnover which have largely been overlooked by previous research. For example, the data show that while high-poverty public schools have moderately higher rates, contrary to conventional wisdom, neither larger schools, nor public schools in large school districts, nor urban public schools have especially high rates of teacher turnover. In contrast, small private schools stand out for their high rates of turnover. Moreover, the data show, again contrary to popular wisdom, that the amount of turnover accounted for by retirement is relatively minor, especially when compared to that resulting from two related causes—teacher job dissatisfaction and teachers pursuing other jobs. The data show that, in particular, low salaries, inadequate support from the school administration, student discipline problems, and limited faculty input into school decision-making all contribute to higher rates of turnover, after controlling for the characteristics of both teachers and schools. The results of this investigation suggest that school staffing problems are neither synonymous with, nor primarily due to, teacher shortages in the conventional sense of a deficit in the supply of teachers. Rather, this study suggests that school staffing problems are primarily due to excess demand resulting from a revolving door—where large numbers of teachers depart their jobs for reasons other than retirement. This study also suggests that popular education initiatives, such as teacher recruitment programs, will not solve the staffing problems of such schools if they do not also address the organizational sources of low teacher retention.</p>

This Research Report provides data and a new framework for looking at the teacher shortage problem. The author shifts the focus away from the problem's two most common explanations (teacher retirement and student enrollment growth) to examine from a sociological view how certain organizational characteristics and conditions of schools lead to low teacher retention. The analysis suggests that education policies, such as teacher recruitment programs, will not solve the staffing problems of schools if they do not also address what is going on in schools that cause teachers to leave. A Policy Brief based on this report is also available.

Toward a theory of teacher community.

Published January 2001

Teachers College Record, 103(6), 942-1012.

What Makes Teacher Community Different from a Gathering of Teachers?

An Occasional Paper by Pamela Grossman, Sam Wineburg, and Stephen Woolworth, January 2001
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>In this paper, the authors draw on their experience with a professional development project to propose a model for studying the formation and development of teacher community. The project they describe brought together 22 English and social studies teachers, as well as a special education teacher and an ESL teacher, from an urban high school for a period of 2 1/2 years. The teachers met twice a month to read together in the field of history and literature and to work on an interdisciplinary curriculum. This detailed account of the first 18 months of the project sheds new light on definitions of professional community, its stages of development, and the challenges that confront community in the workplace of high schools. One of the challenges consists of the need to negotiate an essential tension at the heart of teachers' professional community. Among this group of teachers, many felt that the primary reason to meet was to improve classroom practices and student learning, while others were more interested in the potential for continuing intellectual development in the subjects they taught. The authors—who deliberately built the essential tension into the project—claim that these two views must both be respected in any successful attempt to create and sustain intellectual community in the workplace. The authors also describe the challenges of maintaining diverse perspectives within a community and how familiar fault lines—both in society and in schools—threaten the pursuit of community. The paper includes a model of the markers of community formation—as manifested in participants' talk and actions—and concludes with a discussion of why we must continue to care about professional communities.</p>

This CTP Occasional Paper details the formation and development of teacher community through a project that brought together 22 English and social studies teachers, a special education teacher, and an ESL teacher to plan interdisciplinary curriculum. It includes colorful sections of dialogue among the teachers and sheds new light on definitions of professional community, its stages of development, and the challenges that confront community building in a fast-paced high school workplace.

Publication Year: 2000

Resources, Instruction, and Research

A Working Paper by David K. Cohen, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Deborah Loewenberg Ball, December 2000.
Published January 2000
Abstract:

<p>Education policymakers have long believed that conventional resources, i.e., books, bricks, class size, and teacher qualifications, directly affect student learning and achievement. This working paper builds on more recent research and argues that learning is affected by how resources are used in instruction, not by their mere presence or absence. If use is central to resource effects, research on the effects of resources should be broadened to include the chief influences on use, including teachers' and students' knowledge, skill, and will, and features of teachers' and learners' environments, including school leadership, academic norms, and institutional structures. We discuss how resource use is influenced by the management of certain key problems of instruction, including coordination, incentives to use resources, and management of instructional environments. Having framed the issues in a way that places use by teachers and learners at the center of inquiry, we then discuss research designs that would be appropriate to identify resource effects.</p>

This Working Paper looks at resource use in schools and discusses research designs that would be appropriate to identify resource effects. Whereas education policymakers have long believed that conventional resoures, i.e. books, bricks, class size, and teacher qualifications directly affect student learning and achievement, the authors here argue it's all about how those resources get used in instruction. How resource use is influenced by the management of certain key problems of instruction, including coordination, incentives to use the resources, and management of instructional environments, is also discussed.

Spending on instructional staff support in big school districts: Why are urban districts spending at such high levels?

Published January 2000

Educational Considerations, 28, 8-25

Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence.

Published January 2000

Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1).

Publication Year: 1999

New Tools for Research on Instruction and Instructional Policy: A Web-based Teacher Log

A Working Paper by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Eric Camburn, Richard Correnti, Geoffrey Phelps, and Raven Wallace, December 1999.
Published January 1999
Abstract:

<P>This working paper reports on the initial development and pilot testing of a Web-based instrument designed to collect daily data on instruction. This instrument, referred to as the teacher log, was being developed for use in the Study of Instructional Improvement, a large scale, longitudinal study focusing on school improvement in high poverty schools. Although the instructional log we are ultimately using in this research is not a Web-based tool, and its features are both similar to and different from the one under discussion in this report, we think that there are elements of our early instrument design work that may be of use to others interested in the development of such tools to track instruction.</p> <p>In recent years, a number of studies seeking to generate more detailed data on instruction have pioneered the use of teacher logs. Such logs are generally self-administered instruments which ask teachers to report on topics covered, pedagogy, and more. Teachers fill out such logs on a daily basis and data from these daily reports is then aggregated to create portraits of content emphasis and pedagogy over time.</p> <p>In this pilot work, we set out to further develop the potential of teacher logs by experimenting with Web-based technology and computer branching. These features open up possibilities for capturing a much wider range of data and for linking this data to the work of individual students in classrooms. Furthermore, where paper and pencil logs must be distributed to teachers and data from each log entered into a data base, Web technology allows data to be entered directly as teachers complete the log, potentially reducing the burden on both teachers and researchers. The teacher log pilot study was conducted in the spring of 1998 to test the feasibility of using a Web based instrument to collect data on instruction. Seven teachers in two schools used the teacher log to report on 29 lessons in mathematics and reading. In addition, project researchers observed classroom instruction, filled out log reports, and wrote detailed narrative descriptions for 24 of these lessons.</p> <p>Results from this pilot were encouraging. All teachers were able to use the teacher log to report on instruction. Data was successfully entered through a Web interface into a data base and subsequently used to conduct provisional analyses of both instruction and the reliability and validity of the instrument.</p>

<p>This Working Paper reports on the initial development and pilot-testing of a web-based instrument designed to collect daily data on instruction, which then could be aggregated to create portraits of content emphasis and pedagogy. The instrument was developed for use in the Study of Instructional Improvement and although it is not currently being used, the authors think there are elements of its design that may be of use to those interested in instructional tracking tools.</p>

State Action to Improve Teaching

Policy Brief 1, December 1999
Published January 1999

State Teaching Policies and Student Achievement

Policy Brief 2, December 1999
Published January 1999

Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence

A Research Report by Linda Darling-Hammond, December 1999
Published January 1999
Abstract:

<p>Using data from a 50-state survey of policies, state case study analyses, the 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), this study examines the ways in which teacher qualifications and other school inputs are related to student achievement across states. The findings of both the qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest that policy investments in the quality of teachers may be related to improvements in student performance. Quantitative analyses indicate that measures of teacher preparation and certification are by far the strongest correlates of student achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and language status. State policy surveys and case study data are used to evaluate policies that influence the overall level of teacher qualifications within and across states. This analysis suggests that policies adopted by states regarding teacher education, licensing, hiring, and professional development may make an important difference in the qualifications and capacities that teachers bring to their work. The implications for state efforts to enhance quality and equity in public education are discussed.</p>

This Research Report examines the ways in which teacher qualifications and other school inputs are related to student achievement across states and suggests that policies adopted by states regarding teacher education, licensing, hiring, and professional development may make important differences in the qualifications and capacities teachers bring to their work.

Publication Year: 1998

Federal Research Investment and the Improvement of Teaching, 1980-1997

An Occasional Paper by Julia Koppich and Michael Knapp, April 1998.
Published January 1998