Categories for Quality Leadership
October 22, 2019
Teacher turnover is an enormous burden on education systems, both in terms of student achievement and dollars. High turnover necessitates the recruitment of large numbers of novice teachers, whom research shows are less skilled. This situation is exacerbated by a steady exodus of veteran teachers opting to move from challenging assignments in poorer performing schools with higher percentages of lower socio-economic students to preferred assignments more affluent areas. The high rate of turnover destabilizes the system, forcing diversion of valuable resources from ongoing improvements to recruitment, hiring, and training of novice instructors. Teachers seem to be particularly at risk for higher turnover at the beginning of their careers. Nearly half of teachers leave within 5 years of entering the profession. Efforts to improve retention have been inadequate as evidenced by steadily increasing departures from the profession. This tendency toward turnover is even more striking in private schools than in public schools. Turnover represents a major obstacle to long-term stability, diverts valuable resources, and derails many efforts at reform.
Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, R. (2019). Teacher Retention Analysis Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/teacher-retention-strategies
October 7, 2019
Decades of data attest to high rates of teacher turnover. Almost half of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years. For the past 10 years, turnover has leveled off at a disconcerting 16% per year. High turnover impedes student performance and diverts resources away from efforts to improve schools. It places large numbers of inexperienced, less effective teachers in classrooms, resulting in increased recruiting, hiring, and training budgets. With effective retention, the United States could save a meaningful portion of the $2.2 billion spent annually on replacing teachers. Research shows that increases in teacher turnover consistently correspond with decreases in achievement in core academic subjects. Attrition disproportionately affects schools with the greatest needs, low-achieving and high-poverty schools. Chronic turnover also negatively impacts a school’s culture, increasing student disciplinary problems and principal turnover. It damages collegiality, adding chaos and complexity to schoolwide operations and perpetuating new cycles of turnover. Effective interventions can remediate this situation, but they require administrators’ long-term commitment to improve the learning environment and working conditions.
Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R, Keyworth, R., & States, J. (2019). Teacher Turnover Impact. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/teacher-retention-turnover
September 27, 2019
Visible Learning Insights. This book by John Hattie and Klaus Zierer is written for teachers, education researchers, and anyone interested in the latest research on the efficacy of education practices. This research offers an overview of 1,400 meta-analyses and continues to build on the work John Hattie began with his book, Visible Learning, published over a decade ago that provided educators with a synthesis of 800 meta-analyses.
Citation: Hattie, J., & Zierer, K. (2019). Visible Learning Insights. Routledge.
September 3, 2019
Research on informal teacher evaluation reveals the predominant evaluation method is the walk-though, which ranges from a brief 2- to 3-minute snapshot to longer observation. Studies support the important role principals play in instructional leadership but also suggest that principals are not good at identifying which teachers are the best instructors. Research finds that principals overwhelmingly understand the need to sample teacher performance but that they are rarely trained in how to accomplish this.
Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., & States, J. (2019). Informal Teacher Evaluation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. Retrieved from https://www.winginstitute.org/staff-informal.
April 16, 2019
Performance feedback is a practice used to improve performance. Principals give feedback to teachers to clarify expectations and to provide information for increasing administrative, instructional, behavior management, and personal competency skills. More than seven meta-analyses conducted since 1980 support feedback as one of the most powerful tools for improving performance. To deliver useful feedback, principals need current and accurate information on student performance and a teacher’s instructional skills. Research finds that principals depend on unreliable sources of data such as “walk-throughs,” brief informal observations that provide snapshots of classroom activities but are not designed for performance improvement. Principals should replace traditional walk-throughs with more effective feedback practices, such as coaching, that are better suited to improving specific teaching skills. For the best results, feedback must meet these four conditions: (1) It is objective, reliable, measurable, and specific; (2) it provides information about what was done well, what needs improvement, and how to improve; (3) it is delivered frequently and immediately following performance; and (4) it is about performance rather than personal characteristics.
Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2019). Overview of Performance Feedback. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/teacher-evaluation-feedback.
April 11, 2019
Principal Pipeline: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools. The Rand Corporation just released its report evaluating the impact of the Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI),a project supported by the Wallace Foundation to create and implement a strategic process for school leadership talent management. PPI was operated from 2011 to 2016 in six large school districts. It was composed of leadership standards, pre-service preparation opportunities for assistant principals and principals, selective hiring and placement, and on-the-job induction, evaluation and support. The Rand Study evaluated PPI’s feasibility, effectiveness, and affordability. It concluded that the model was feasible as each participating district was able to implement all components of the model at scale in different ways depending on the unique aspects of the district. From an effectiveness standpoint, newly placed principals in PPI districts had a greater statistically significant impact on student reading and math scores than non-PPI principals, they were more likely to stay ion their schools for at least two years, and the novice principals rated the program’s hiring, evaluation, and support process higher than non-participating principals rated the baseline model. And finally, the study found the model affordable at $ 42 per student per year, which represented a significant return on investment. Note: It is hoped that future studies will include outcome measure such as teacher retention, effectiveness, and satisfaction in the context of principal development.
Citation: Gates, Susan M., Matthew D. Baird, Benjamin K. Master, and Emilio R. Chavez-Herrerias, Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-2666-WF, 2019.
December 18, 2018
Teacher-student Relationships. Research shows skills commonly referred to as soft skills (personal competencies) have a powerful impact on teacher effectiveness. Mastery results in beneficial teacher-student relationships. Evidence finds teachers who create a positive relationship have a substantial effect on student learning; they also have fewer discipline problems, office referrals, and related conduct issues. Even more importantly, these skills can be taught in pre-service and in-service training.
Citation: States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2018). Teacher-student Relationships Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. Retrieved from https://www.winginstitute.org/soft-skills-teacher-student-relationships
December 5, 2018
Accountability policies and teacher decision making: Barriers to the use of data to improve practice. Underlying many accountability policies is the assumption that standardized test data and other common sources of data will be used to make decisions that will result in changes to instructional practices. This study examines longitudinal from nine high schools nominated as leading practitioners of Continuous Improvement (CI) practices. The researchers compared continuous improvement best practices to teachers actual use of data in making decisions. The study found teachers to be receptive, but also found that significant obstacles were interfering with the effective use of data that resulted in changes in instruction. The analysis showed cultural values and practices inconsistent with accountability policies and continuous improvement practices impede implementation. The researchers identify barriers to use of testing and other data that help to account for the less than successful results. Given the current understanding of the importance on implementation science in the effective application of any new practice, these findings are not a surprise. As our colleague, Ronnie Detrich, is quoted as saying, “Implementation is where great ideas go to die”.
Citation: Ingram, D., Louis, K. S., & Schroeder, R. G. (2004). Accountability policies and teacher decision making: Barriers to the use of data to improve practice. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1258-1287.
Link: Accountability policies and teacher decision making: Barriers to the use of data to improve practice
October 2, 2018
Formal Teacher Evaluation
This paper examines formal teacher evaluation. Formal teacher evaluation is integrated into many state and district policies, and, even with shifts in federal focus under ESSA, is likely to remain common practice. The goal of formal teacher evaluation is to collect data that accurately represents teacher practice and the connection to student achievement in a valid and reliable way, and use that information to improve the system for teaching and learning. Although conclusions about the impact of teacher evaluation on student achievement are mixed (Stecher et al., 2018; Taylor & Tyler, 2012a, 2012b), ideally collecting and using information about teacher practice can advance the conversation about quality instruction and teaching potential.
Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2018). Overview of Teacher Formal Evaluation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/teacher-evaluation-formal.
September 10, 2018
Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards
The New Teacher Center has released guidelines and standards for the implementation of coaching as a powerful means of improving school, teacher, and ultimately student performance. The Instructional Coaching Program Standardsdefine the essential elements of a coaching program designed to accelerate teacher effectiveness. Districts can then use the Instructional Coaching Practice Standards as a framework to implement the components in a strategic, quality practice. The components consist of selection, roles, and responsibilities of coaches who will provide focused instructional assistance to teachers; preparation, development, and ongoing support for those coaches; a collaborative system of formative assessment of practice for teachers and coaches; and targeted, differentiatedprofessional learning opportunities for teachers. Formal standards are necessary for overcoming deficits inherent in previous in-service and teacher induction efforts that often left implementation of teacher training up to each personto define. This transformation is essential in assuring a consistency of practice for all the differing interventions currently bundled under the coaching label. These new coaching standards are a clarification and distillation of current practice elements, and are designed to make coaching more productive and cost effective.
New Teacher Center (2018). Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards. New Teacher Center. https://newteachercenter.org