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The Future of Teacher Hiring?

The Harvard Education Letter reports on a charter school network in Dallas that, with the help of an HR consulting firm, has developed a system to use "predictive research" to identify teacher candidates who are most likely to be effective.

Candidates for teaching positions with Uplift Education are put through a phone screening, a model lesson, and an interview. (An e-mail exercise and a data-analysis task are slated to be added this year.) But the process relies on a statistical method rather than an administrator's gut instinct. "At each step along the way," the HEL reports, "candidates are asked scripted questions with follow-up probes—all scored on a five-point scale according to specific rubrics." Ultimately, candidates are judged on how well they meet "29 key characteristics" of effective teachers, including "abilility to differentiate instruction, do detailed planning, and create remediation strategies to close achievement gaps."

"Literally, we are predicting teacher performance," says Andrew English, one of the consultants involved in the project. "[Employers] believe they can sit down and figure out if someone is good based on an unstructured interview—and we know from research that's not true."

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