« What Principals Are Most Worried About Right Now | Main | Teachers Are Cynical About 'School Improvement Plans.' What Principals Can Do to Change That »

Teacher Experience and Preparation Led to Stronger Black and Hispanic Achievement, Study Says

Hand-Raised-Young-Boy-Classroom-GETTY-Blog-560x292.jpgEmploying experienced and fully-credentialed teachers is one of the major factors contributing to California school districts that are producing higher-than-expected academic achievement among their Hispanic, black, and white students, says a new report from the Learning Policy Institute. 

In the report California's Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds, released Thursday, the Palo Alto-based think tank identified California school systems where students were outperforming on state tests their peers in other school districts who come from families with similar racial/ethnic backgrounds, income, and education levels. The study was limited to 435 districts that had at least 200 white students and 200 black or Hispanic students.

Teacher certification was strongly associated with achievement for students of all races and ethnicities. The higher the percentage of teachers in a district working under emergency permits, waivers or intern credentials, the lower the average achievement for all students‐with students of color facing a larger negative impact than white students. A teacher's length of time in the profession was also positively associated with achievement for black and Hispanic students. 

Total per-pupil expenditures or teacher salaries didn't make a statistically significant impact on student achievement in this analysis, but the report did note that salary levels are often related to teacher qualifications, which did have an impact on student achievement.

Linda Darling-Hammond, the president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and a co-author of the study, said the findings support the idea that teacher churn has a negative impact, even though going into low-performing schools and making sweeping staff changes has been in vogue as a reform initiative.

That may be necessary in some cases, Darling-Hammond said, but "churn as a strategy is really not the best strategy, based on the data we have here." 

Holding on to teachers, rather, seems to be a winning tactic.

"We recognize that it's not easy for all districts, but one of the big things that determine shortages is how well you keep the teachers that you've hired," Darling-Hammond said. "Supporting [teachers,] mentoring, making sure they get what they need to succeed, involving them in decisionmaking—those districts do end up doing better in the long run." 

Image by Getty

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments