Teacher Effectiveness

Research consistently shows that teaching is the single most important school-based factor in a student’s academic growth. As such, the topic of effective teaching is at the forefront of CEPR’s research, which includes large national projects, like the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness, and program evaluations, like that of the Boston Teacher Residency. It is CEPR’s goal to have such analyses inform policy decisions and aid in drawing implications for reform.

Dan Goldhaber

Dan Goldhaber

Affiliated Researcher, SDP Fellowship Faculty Advisor
Professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington
John Papay

John Papay

Affiliated Researcher; SDP Fellowship Faculty Advisor
Assistant Professor of Education and Economics
Department of Education, Brown University
Jonah Rockoff

Jonah Rockoff

Affiliated Researcher
Associate Professor of Finance and Economics
Columbia Business School, Columbia University
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Hill, H. (2014). Lessons Learned from Instruction | Results from a Study of Upper-Elementary Mathematics Classrooms. Beyond the Numbers Convening.Abstract

While research has generated substantial information regarding the characteristics of effective mathematics teachers and classrooms, scholars have rarely tested multiple aspects of teachers or teaching within a single study. Without testing multiple variables simultaneously, it is difficult to identify specific aspects of mathematics teachers and teaching that may be particularly impactful on student learning, and to understand the degree to which these characteristics are related to one another. This plenary draws on data from a three-year study measuring multiple components of teacher and teaching quality to investigate these issues.

Best Foot Forward Project

Did video technology improve the classroom observation process?

The Best Foot Forward Project investigated whether video technology can make the classroom observation process easier to implement, less costly, and more valid and reliable. In a randomized controlled trial, the study team put cameras in the hands of teachers and allowed them to select their best lessons for evaluation. Researchers aimed to learn whether digital video made the observation process more acceptable to teachers and administrators.

In 2013, the project was piloted in 100

Read more about Best Foot Forward Project

Exploring Methods for Improving Teachers’ Mathematical Quality of Instruction

What is the optimal level of facilitation in teachers’ discussions and the effect of contributing their own video?

This study is investigating the conditions of effective video-based math professional development and the use of an observational instrument as a common language for teachers to use to talk about their practice. Read more about Exploring Methods for Improving Teachers’ Mathematical Quality of Instruction

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Hill, H. C., Kraft, M. A., & Herlihy, C. (2016). Developing Common Core Classrooms Through Rubric-Based Coaching . Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.Abstract

The project team is still awaiting student test data to complete the evaluation, but this brief provides a short update on survey results. Students of MQI-coached teachers report that their teachers ask more substantive questions, and require more use of mathematical vocabulary as compared to students of control teachers. Students in MQI-coached classrooms also reported more student talk in class. Teachers who received MQI Coaching tended to find their professional development significantly more useful than control teachers, and were also more likely to report that their mathematics instruction improved over the course of the year.

Blazar, D. (2015). Effective teaching in elementary mathematics: Identifying classroom practices that support student achievement. Economics of Education Review , 48, 16-29. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recent investigations into the education production function have moved beyond traditional teacher inputs, such as education, certification, and salary, focusing instead on observational measures of teaching practice. However, challenges to identification mean that this work has yet to coalesce around specific instructional dimensions that increase student achievement. I build on this discussion by exploiting within-school, between-grade, and cross-cohort variation in scores from two observation instruments; further, I condition on a uniquely rich set of teacher characteristics, practices, and skills. Findings indicate that inquiry-oriented instruction positively predicts student achievement. Content errors and imprecisions are negatively related, though these estimates are sensitive to the set of covariates included in the model. Two other dimensions of instruction, classroom emotional support and classroom organization, are not related to this outcome. Findings can inform recruitment and development efforts aimed at improving the quality of the teacher workforce. 

(2013). SDP Toolkit for Effective Data Use . Strategic Data Project. Learn more and download [SDP website]Abstract

The SDP Toolkit for Effective Data Use is a resource guide for education agency analysts who collect and analyze data on student achievement. Completing the toolkit produces a set of basic, yet essential, human capital and college-going analyses that every education agency should have as a foundation to inform strategic management and policy decisions.

Kelcey, B., Hill, H. C., & McGinn, D. (2014). Approximate measurement invariance in cross-classified rater-mediated assessments. Frontiers in Psychology , 5 (1469). Publisher's VersionAbstract

An important assumption underlying meaningful comparisons of scores in rater-mediated assessments is that measurement is commensurate across raters. When raters differentially apply the standards established by an instrument, scores from different raters are on fundamentally different scales and no longer preserve a common meaning and basis for comparison. In this study, we developed a method to accommodate measurement noninvariance across raters when measurements are cross-classified within two distinct hierarchical units. We conceptualized random item effects cross-classified graded response models and used random discrimination and threshold effects to test, calibrate, and account for measurement noninvariance among raters. By leveraging empirical estimates of rater-specific deviations in the discrimination and threshold parameters, the proposed method allows us to identify noninvariant items and empirically estimate and directly adjust for this noninvariance within a cross-classified framework. Within the context of teaching evaluations, the results of a case study suggested substantial noninvariance across raters and that establishing an approximately invariant scale through random item effects improves model fit and predictive validity.

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Let’s Rewind

October 6, 2015

Miriam Greenberg, Director of Education and Communications, shares the importance of video technology to teacher feedback in the following HGSE Usable Knowledge blog post. Read more about Let’s Rewind

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