Testing for teachers

Districts are now screening would-be teachers with online assessments that claim to tell who’d be the best fit. Gallup’s Teacher Insight is the industry leader, reports Education Week. For years, districts have hired Gallup to do in-person or phone interviews with prospective teachers. Online screening is cheaper and faster, and makes it possible to consider more candidates.

The Haberman Educational Foundation offers an online test to look for teachers who’d do well in urban schools.

Kenexa Technology, which designs job-aptitude tests for private employers, worked with the Wake County, N.C., district to develop a profile of a successful teacher.

Kenexa formed focus groups of teachers and school officials to draw up a list of the characteristics, beliefs, approaches, and behavior patterns most needed by the Wake County district’s teachers. The company then worked to find multiple-choice questions that would show how closely an individual matched that “success profile.”

Some of the items direct test-takers to rate themselves; others ask them to select the best answer for a school problem. For instance, a question might ask about a situation in which one member of a team working on a curriculum project isn’t pulling his or her weight. Another might inquire how co-workers would be likely to describe the test-taker.

Applicants who fit the profile are likely to get a human-to-human interview.

About Joanne


  1. Sorry I track backed the wrong entry. I meant to ping your book entry. Please escept my apologies.

  2. Bruce H. says:

    >> … and makes it possible to consider more candidates.

    Also makes it easier to send in a ringer, I would think.

  3. As a very effective teacher for nearly 40 years, I’d love to take one of these tests to see if I qualify. But you have to pay, and I’m not that curious.

  4. I think politicians should be tested every year.

  5. I don’t think this is an effective approach.

    When you put a group of teachers and school officials together in a focus group, they come up with a set of reasonable-sounding characteristics, behavior patterns, etc. but in my experience, successful teachers are a very diverse bunch who have figured out their own paths to effectiveness.
    One of my best and most effective high-school teachers was borderline manic-depressive! But I can’t imagine the focus group allowing anyone like that through their screens.

  6. Marshall from MN says:

    Considering that a huge chunk of teachers quit by their third year, it seems like this could be a very good tool for all parties involved.

  7. Everybody’s doing this. I have children (teenagers) who have been applying for jobs at Target, Kroger, etc. Everyone wants them to take a test similar to the ones you described. “What would you do if you thought you saw someone shoplifting?” The problem is that it’s very tempting to try to guess what the “correct” answer is and give that. I can see people training others to “pass the personality/aptitude test.”


  1. 101 books the College Board recommends for high school

    This comes to my blog via JoanneJacobs. Beowulf Achebe, Chinua – Things Fall Apart Agee, James – A Death in the Family Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice Baldwin, James – Go Tell It on the Mountain Beckett, Samuel -…