NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ763362
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Photo Finish: Certification Doesn't Guarantee a Winner
Kane, Thomas J.; Rockoff, Jonah E.; Staiger, Douglas O.
Education Next, v7 n1 p60-67 Win 2007
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom. To meet the standard, teachers must have a bachelor's degree, be state-certified, and prove they know the subjects they teach, either by satisfying minimum course-taking requirements or passing a test in the subject they teach. But will compliance ensure that students learn more? Does state certification make teachers better at fostering student learning? It is now possible to provide some answers to these questions by exploring the relative effectiveness of recently hired New York City public school teachers who entered the profession through alternate routes. Using a large data set provided by the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE), the authors analyzed student test scores as well as information about the students, their teachers, classrooms, and schools. With this rich array of data, they compared the effectiveness of recently hired alternatively certified and uncertified teachers to that of their traditionally certified counterparts in improving student learning in math and reading during grades 4 through 8. The results of the study of New York City public school teachers confirm a simple truth: some teachers are considerably better than others at helping students learn. For example, elementary-school students who have a teacher who performs in the top quartile of all elementary-school teachers learn 33 percent of a standard deviation more (substantially more) in math in a year than students who have a teacher who performs in the bottom quartile. Yet as the authors embrace this piece of conventional wisdom, they must discard another: the widespread sentiment that there are large differences in effectiveness between traditionally certified teachers and uncertified or alternatively certified teachers. The greatest potential for school districts to improve student achievement seems to rest not in regulating minimum qualifications for new teachers but in selectively retaining those teachers who are most effective during their first years of teaching. (Contains 2 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001