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Will the Real Effective Teacher Please Stand Up?

What makes some teachers better than others? A new study from the Rand Corp. concludes that, well, it's tough to know.

The study, which examined data from the Los Angeles Unified School District over a five year period, found that there was little correlation between teacher effectiveness (as measured by student test-score progress) and any particular qualifications or credentials. That includes years of experience, education level attained, or licensure test scores. Even initially failing a licensure exam showed no "statistically significant link" to a teacher's future effectiveness.

So what now? The study suggests that "education experts" may need to "develop alternative measures that will more accurately predict classroom performance." (Better be on the lookout for those.) In the meantime, there's always performance pay: "[I]t might be promising to reward teachers for their performance rather than for qualifications that are not associated with their ability to improve student achievement," the study notes.

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