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.