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ERIC Number: ED509717
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
Collaboration: Closing the Effective Teaching Gap
Berry, Barnett; Daughtrey, Alesha; Wieder, Alan
Center for Teaching Quality
Over the last decade, policy and business leaders have come to know what parents have always known: teachers are the largest school-based factor in student achievement. Yet not all schools have equal access to the most effective teachers. High-needs schools that serve large proportions of economically disadvantaged and minority students are more likely to have difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers, particularly in high-demand subjects like math and special education. As a result, they are much more likely to fill those openings with out-of-field, inexperienced, and less well-prepared teachers. Simply put, the student achievement gap is largely explained by an effective teaching gap. The important question is how individuals seek to close that gap. Some pundits and policymakers suggest that effective teachers are born, not made--and that the academic ability and personal traits of new recruits are more important for teaching effectiveness than pedagogical training. However, recent studies have shown that teachers are significantly more effective if they are fully prepared when they enter teaching, are certified in the specific field they teach, have higher scores on their licensing tests, have graduated from a more competitive college, have at least two years teaching experience, and are National Board certified. In addition, a new body of research suggests that teaching experience and pedagogical preparation matters for student achievement when teachers have opportunities to learn from their peers in their schools over time. Working conditions seem to matter a great deal for teacher effectiveness--but which ones? This policy brief offers a powerful perspective on teaching effectiveness and teacher collaboration. Drawing on surveys and interviews of teachers in urban, high-needs schools as well as a broader research literature, the authors offer evidence to show that when teachers are given time and tools to collaborate with their peers, they are more likely to teach effectively and more likely to remain in the high-needs schools that need them most. (Contains 2 figures.)
Center for Teaching Quality. 976 Airport Road Suite 250, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel: 919-951-0200; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Teaching Quality
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Equal Access