Credentials don’t predict teacher performance

Teacher certification, advanced degrees and years of experience have “little or no effect” on student performance, concludes a Manhattan Institute study. Marcus Winters and colleagues analyzed test scores for all test-taking Florida public elementary students over a four-year period. The study will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Economics of Education Review.

In making decisions on pay, promotion, and tenure, U.S. public schools today do not seriously consider measures of how well a teacher performs in the classroom. Instead of distinguishing between the observed performances of teachers, the current system differentiates teachers by the number of advanced degrees that they hold and their years of experience in the classroom.

Teachers in their first few years of teaching are less effective than experienced teachers, but the benefit of experience “appears to plateau after the third to fifth year.”

Upward of 97 percent of what makes one teacher more effective than another is unrelated to experience and credentials, the study concludes.

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  1. Some of the best teachers are not certified, just because a teacher is nationally board certified does not mean they are a good teacher…

    So…what if the certification was abandoned, students that wanted to be teachers had to teach all four years of college so they could be weeded out and then, then once given a classroom they work as a TA (at a teacher’s salary) while truly learning the ropes?

    Would any of this help?

    Why is teaching the only profession (that I am aware of) that throws graduates in the classroom or work force and expect them to perform like the veterans? Seems something is way wrong with the model…

    • Certification would make more sense if it was accompanied by worthwhile training. That’s where the process breaks down. AFAIK National Board Certification involves more useless classes and an evaluation based upon a videotaped performance. In other words, more of the same.

      I like your suggestion about the TA; I’ve always thought that would be a good idea, or at least better than what we’re doing. This doesn’t mean that teachers’ couldn’t benefit from actual USEFUL training.

  2. The Manhattan Institute doesn’t do studies, it does propaganda, that’s why one of the co-authors is the Wal-Mart scholar, Jay P. Greene

  3. Former Teacher says:

    What predicted teacher performance in my former district was grade taught, apparently. For some reason, tenth grade teachers did not perform well as measured by standardized test scores of students. Yet, eleventh grade teachers performed excellently. And those teachers were rewarded with handsome bonuses.

    Surely the fact that tenth grade scores count for nothing and eleventh grade exams must be passed in order for the student to graduate had nothing to do with the situation. It was purely teacher quality.