Gates Foundation study: We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher

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    Jan 15, 2013 2:28 PM GMT
    Promising.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/gates-study-weve-figured-out-what-makes-a-good-teacher/2013/01/08/05ca7d60-59b0-11e2-9fa9-5fbdc9530eb9_story.html
  • Sportsfan1

    Posts: 479

    Jan 15, 2013 6:14 PM GMT
    What about a method for identifying what make a good parent. Teachers can only work with what the parents send from home. A teacher cannot control what time a student goes to bed, or if they ate a good breakfast, or if someone was there to help with their homework, or if they have an area set aside in the home to do their homework or even if they have access to a computer. So many things that a teacher has not control over.
  • stratavos

    Posts: 1831

    Jan 15, 2013 6:25 PM GMT
    Sportsfan1 saidWhat about a method for identifying what make a good parent. Teachers can only work with what the parents send from home. A teacher cannot control what time a student goes to bed, or if they ate a good breakfast, or if someone was there to help with their homework, or if they have an area set aside in the home to do their homework or even if they have access to a computer. So many things that a teacher has not control over.


    now that would be invasion of privacy ;) Only families on welfare could be forced into that kind of grading scheme
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    Jan 15, 2013 6:43 PM GMT
    Sportsfan1 saidWhat about a method for identifying what make a good parent. Teachers can only work with what the parents send from home. A teacher cannot control what time a student goes to bed, or if they ate a good breakfast, or if someone was there to help with their homework, or if they have an area set aside in the home to do their homework or even if they have access to a computer. So many things that a teacher has not control over.

    This.
    You can put the best teachers in the prettiest classrooms ever designed, and if you fill them with tired, underfed, badly raised, malnourished, unloved idiots, that child will not perform well.
    I will always support a license to breed, that would also require proof that you can afford the child. A simple means testing would suffice. If you can't past the intellectual test and the means test, no babies for you. This country is being overrun with stupid, unwanted idiots, enough already.
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    Jan 15, 2013 7:25 PM GMT
    The headline completely misrepresents the research!
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Jan 15, 2013 7:27 PM GMT
    Have to agree with sportsfan and smartmoney.

    Teachers get some bad press. But they're often fighting a losing battle getting kids to accept some discipline and settle down and learn.

    And the parents expect teachers to instil values and manners in their kids and that's really the job of the parent to do.

    You shouldn't just pop them out and then expect everyone else to raise them.

    Lozx
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    Jan 15, 2013 7:56 PM GMT
    Yep, I guess there are those who sympathize with bad teachers here who seem to believe we should reject the large body of research that shows the impact a good teacher can have on a student:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/big-study-links-good-teachers-to-lasting-gain.html?pagewanted=all

    Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.

    The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, all economists, examines a larger number of students over a longer period of time with more in-depth data than many earlier studies, allowing for a deeper look at how much the quality of individual teachers matters over the long term.


    But yep, let's blame the parents for a failing education system run by teachers unions, politicians and bureaucrats... icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 15, 2013 8:07 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidThe headline completely misrepresents the research!


    lol,

    'Gates Foundation study: We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher'

    ...and then article goes on and on and does NOT tell you what makes a good teacher.
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    Jan 15, 2013 8:33 PM GMT
    More accurately, it should read "we know now how to identify who is a good teacher"

    From the article:

    “We identified groups of teachers who caused students to learn more,” said Thomas J. Kane, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and principal investigator of the Gates study, also known as the Measures of Effective Teaching project.

    The findings released Tuesday involved an analysis of about 3,000 teachers and their students in Charlotte; Dallas; Denver; Memphis; New York; Pittsburgh; and Hillsborough County, Fla., which includes Tampa. Researchers were drawn from the Educational Testing Service and several universities, including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Virginia.

    The large-scale study is the first to demonstrate that it is possible to identify great teaching, the foundation said.

    Researchers videotaped 3,000 participating teachers and experts analyzed their classroom performance. They also ranked the teachers using a statistical model known as value-added modeling, which calculates how much an educator has helped students learn based on their academic performance over time. And finally, the researchers surveyed the students, who turned out to be reliable judges of their teacher’s abilities, Kane said.

    They used all that data to identify teachers who seemed effective. And then they randomly assigned students to those teachers for an academic year.

    The teachers who seemed to be effective were, in fact, able to repeat those successes with different students in different years, the researchers found. Their students not only scored well on standardized exams but also were able to handle more complicated tests of their conceptual math knowledge and reading and writing abilities.


    Link to the study:
    http://metproject.org/downloads/MET_Ensuring_Fair_and_Reliable_Measures_Practitioner_Brief.pdf
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    Jan 15, 2013 8:38 PM GMT
    One additional note from the study itself:

    Furthermore, the unprecedented data collected by the MET project over the past three years are being made available to the larger research community to carry out additional analyses, which will increase knowledge of what constitutes effective teaching and how to support it. MET project partners already are tapping those data for new studies on observer training, combining student surveys and observations, and other practical concerns. Finally, commercially available video-based tools for observer training and certification now exist using the lessons learned from the MET project’s studies.


    In this light, the title isn't entirely accurate, but more of a subheading. They do have the data on what makes a good teacher, but what the research sought was to answer the question of "how do we know if we have a good teacher and what metrics should be used to evaluate teachers to identify "good" teachers?"
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    Jan 15, 2013 9:29 PM GMT
    "And finally, the researchers surveyed the students, who turned out to be reliable judges of their teacher’s abilities, Kane said."

    I doubt that, as a lot of students are lazy and would, consequently, resent teachers who assigned a lot of homework or had high standards for their students.
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    Jan 15, 2013 11:22 PM GMT
    musclestud1981 said"And finally, the researchers surveyed the students, who turned out to be reliable judges of their teacher’s abilities, Kane said."

    I doubt that, as a lot of students are lazy and would, consequently, resent teachers who assigned a lot of homework or had high standards for their students.


    You're assuming that a lot of homework is indicative of a good teacher - as for high standards, clearly studies like this are useful in attempting to at least some misconceptions such as yours. I don't doubt a lot of students are lazy. A lot of teachers are lazy too. But this is why there's three parts to what they advocate for evaluation.
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Jan 16, 2013 12:35 AM GMT
    TigerTim saidThe headline completely misrepresents the research!


    I thought this as soon as I read it! There are no findings that talk about what makes good teachers. How about talking about teaching methods rather than grades? I thought there would be something valuable in here, but as usual, it's about numbers. Then again, what do we expect from the Gates Foundation?
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    Jan 16, 2013 12:40 AM GMT
    danisnotstr8 said
    TigerTim saidThe headline completely misrepresents the research!


    I thought this as soon as I read it! There are no findings that talk about what makes good teachers. How about talking about teaching methods rather than grades? I thought there would be something valuable in here, but as usual, it's about numbers. Then again, what do we expect from the Gates Foundation?


    I concur. The research has shown that exam results, classroom evaluations and student evaluations can collectively discriminate—crudely—very good teachers from very bad teachers with much in between.

    What a remarkable waste of money!
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    Jan 16, 2013 1:18 AM GMT
    Actually, their method is akin to "data fishing," since they lack a starting hypothesis. They use various mixes of their evaluation tools (students' evals, standardized tests, independent observations) give various correlations with state tests gains. (In particular, model 1 weighs 81% on achievement gains on state tests, and of course it's going to correlate the most with state test gains!) None of these models correlate well with "higher order" thinking skill tests--probably the only thing I took away from this is that state tests don't test thinking skills well.

    What we have here is a lot of bootstrapping and ad hoc rules. To their credit, they did try to use their model to predict year-to-year results, and were able to predict those teachers who performed well on different students. If they can show that their predictive model can be applied to other settings completely different and outside their study population, that would mean a lot more.

    I.e. the measures are reliable and internally consistent but we all know that a model is useful only if it's applicable to other data sets, which is more important than what they've done so far.
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    Jan 16, 2013 1:26 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidActually, their method is akin to "data fishing," since they lack a starting hypothesis. They use various mixes of their evaluation tools (students' evals, standardized tests, independent observations) give various correlations with state tests gains. (In particular, model 1 weighs 81% on achievement gains on state tests, and of course it's going to correlate the most with state test gains!) None of these models correlate well with "higher order" thinking skill tests--probably the only thing I took away from this is that state tests don't test thinking skills well.

    What we have here is a lot of bootstrapping and ad hoc rules. To their credit, they did try to use their model to predict year-to-year results, and were able to predict those teachers who performed well on different students. If they can show that their predictive model can be applied to other settings completely different and outside their study population, that would mean a lot more.

    I.e. the measures are reliable and internally consistent but we all know that a model is useful only if it's applicable to other data sets, which is more important than what they've done so far.


    And this is why I love you q1w2e3 X I was perhaps being too facetious, but I get very irritated by these epistemologically dodgy analyses...
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    Jan 16, 2013 1:38 AM GMT
    Isn't the problem with the American school public system is that its nearly impossible to get rid of the bad lazy teachers?

    And yeah if you have shit parents, good luck.
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    Jan 16, 2013 1:51 AM GMT
    What makes a good teacher???

    A love for their job and the children in their classroom. Dedication to enriching children's lives not just educationally but emotionally and spiritually. Keeping up with latest teaching trends and continuing to better themselves in education. How can researchers measure these? Most likely the researchers themselves have never been in an elementary or high school classroom.
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    Jan 16, 2013 3:29 AM GMT
    riddler78 saidGates Foundation study: We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher
    Paulflexes Foundation study: Good teachers have been around for thousands of years, and you're just now figuring it out?
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:16 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    musclestud1981 said"And finally, the researchers surveyed the students, who turned out to be reliable judges of their teacher’s abilities, Kane said."

    I doubt that, as a lot of students are lazy and would, consequently, resent teachers who assigned a lot of homework or had high standards for their students.


    You're assuming that a lot of homework is indicative of a good teacher - as for high standards, clearly studies like this are useful in attempting to at least some misconceptions such as yours. I don't doubt a lot of students are lazy. A lot of teachers are lazy too. But this is why there's three parts to what they advocate for evaluation.


    No, I'm just assuming students will rate teachers who give a lot of homework, regardless of whether or not they are good teachers. Also, teachers knowing that they're going to be evaluated, in part, by students will likely encourage grade inflation on the part of the teachers so as to avoid the wrath of angry students.
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:34 AM GMT
    S34n05 saidIsn't the problem with the American school public system is that its nearly impossible to get rid of the bad lazy teachers?

    And yeah if you have shit parents, good luck.


    No. That's a mythology spread by anti-union forces.

    We actually do know what makes great teachers as repeated studies from Denmark and South Korea prove. Guess what? It's much more expensive and takes much longer than our typical training. Teachers are also revered in those countries, rather than being shit on by political opportunists like our Canadian friend.

    There's a great study called "Standing On The Shoulders of Giants" that shows all the ways in which we could improve out system by copying best practices of other countries.