Educator Effectiveness

Research shows that students respond better to, and learn more from, effective teachers. The NWCC provides technical assistance to build Northwest states’ capacity to help their districts and schools improve student outcomes by supporting effective instruction and leadership.

One component of increasing educator effectiveness is providing “exemplary” feedback and conducting critical conversations. In response to a request from stakeholders in Alaska, we have gathered resources on this topic that other states may also find useful.
Additional resources on a range of topics related to the priority area of educator effectiveness are found below.

Center on Great Teachers & Leaders (GTL Center)

The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students

The Qualitative Factors that Affect Teacher Distribution

The Northwest Comprehensive Center released a brief exploring what the research says about factors affecting teacher distribution. According to the brief, even though research confirms the link between more effective teachers and higher student achievement (particularly among low-income students), the schools that need effective teachers the most have more difficulty retaining them.

Leadership Qualities of Effective Principals

Research and practice confirm that there is little chance of creating and sustaining a high-quality learning environment without a skilled and committed instructional leader to shape teaching and learning. In fact, highly effective principals can increase students’ scores up to 10 percentile points on standardized tests in just one year, reduce student absences and suspensions, and improve graduation rates (Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003). So, what makes these principals so effective? This research brief discusses some qualities that evidence shows matter.

Landscape in Teacher Preparation: Undergraduate Secondary Education

High school represents an amazing opportunity for students and their teachers. For most Americans, the high school years played a pivotal role in shaping what they know about subjects such as U.S. history, world history, literature, geometry and biology. For many, the high school years provide one of the last opportunities to gain valuable life-enhancing insights, for example, reading a classic novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird; discovering what happened during historical events such as the French Revolution and the transformation of African nations through colonization and decolonization; learning about scientific theories that go beyond the students' own experience, ranging from nanotechnology to relativity; and understanding how numbers interact to form the backbone of the universe.
Even Americans who continue on to college will focus their coursework on one or two majors, and therefore, as adults, they will rely on their high school education for knowledge about most other academic subjects.

Using Evaluation Systems for Teacher Improvement: Are School Districts Ready to Meet New Federal Goals?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA — the main federal education law) was signed into law at the end of 2015, but schools and districts have until the 2017-2018 school year to begin implementing their plans to comply with it. ESSA represents a substantial shift from prior law in how it addresses teacher professional growth and evaluation, and as schools and districts prepare to implement it, it is worth understanding how they may make the best use of their existing investments in those areas. This brief, which draws on data from a large survey of secondary school teachers and principals conducted by MDRC in the spring of 2016, discusses how existing evaluation and support systems could be better used to realize the new law’s vision of teacher improvement. The data from the survey suggest that if districts wish to move toward the type of continuous growth opportunities for teachers that ESSA envisions, they could do so by investing in additional training for school leaders; such training would be intended to help them use existing teacher evaluation systems to identify teachers’ needs and connect them with professional development opportunities.

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