Study shows: Teachers get better with experience. Duh.

A major study looking at 30 other studies over the past 15 years shows that teachers get better with experience, especially if they are in a supportive and collaborative environment and get to teach the same subject matter or age level repeatedly.

Or, ‘duh’: 5 weeks of training isn’t enough.

A money quote from the summary:

Based on our review of 30 studies published within the last 15 years that analyze the effect of teaching experience on student outcomes in the United States and met our methodological criteria, we find that:

1. Teaching experience is positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career. Gains in teacher effectiveness associated with experience are most steep in teachers’ initial years, but continue to be significant as teachers reach the second, and often third, decades of their careers.

2. As teachers gain experience, their students not only learn more, as measured by standardized tests, they are also more likely to do better on other measures of success, such as school attendance.

3. Teachers’ effectiveness increases at a greater rate when they teach in a supportive and collegial working environment, and when they accumulate experience in the same grade level, subject, or district.

4. More experienced teachers support greater student learning for their colleagues and the school as a whole, as well as for their own students.

Here is the full link:

Teacher and Administrative Churn — It’s Not A Bug, It’s A Feature of Education Deform in DC and Elsewhere

Continuing to look at the report to the DC auditor’s department from EdCORE, let’s focus on what has happened to DCPS staff, both teachers and administrators. I lifted the following graphs from the report and added my own notations (mostly in red).

principal churn in dcpsAccording to the report, nearly two-thirds of all principals in DCPS have only one, two, or three years of experience in our system. Less than 16% of all DCPS principals had more than 6 years of experience in DCPS.

principal churn by poverty level

And it’s also clear that this principal churn hits high-poverty schools the hardest. As you can see above, in high-poverty schools, 71% of the principals are new, compared to only about 43% in the low-poverty schools. Constant churn of staff and administrators and teachers in high-poverty schools is profoundly demoralizing: teachers with connections to the community are able to relate to students because they know the parents well, often live in the community, belong to churches, coach sporting or other events, and have a profound, stabilizing impact. When a principal or teacher comes to a school and then leaves after a year or two (or less), and this pattern repeats over and over, then human connections are lost.

Interesting chart here shows that contrary to the anti-veteran-teacher propaganda, first- and second-year teachers get lower ratings on IMPACT than more seasoned teachers:

ratings for new and returning teachers - dcps - 2010-2011

This next graph shows that if you want to keep your job, it’s best not to teach in a high-poverty school. Teachers in low-poverty DC public schools are four times more likely to get a “Highly Effective” rating than teachers in a high-poverty school. And teachers in the high-poverty schools are three times more likely to get a “Minimally Effective” score than teachers in the low-poverty schools.

teacher ratings by school poverty 2010-2011

This next graph shows that as a consequence,  there is a much higher ‘churn’ rate in the high-poverty schools. 32% of the teachers leave the system EACH YEAR in the high-poverty schools, versus 13% in the low-poverty schools. movers leavers stayers in teachers by school poverty levelHow does this constant churn affect the students? It’s not good. See for yourself:

percent of students at or above prof in math by student ethnic and povertyAfter the uptick in scores resulting from teachers learning how to teach the test after SY 2006-7, there has not been the ‘smashing of the achievement gap’ that was predicted by the EduDeformers. Kids who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches still score the lowest; black students as a whole continue to score almost as low as them, and DC’s white students still continue to score at phenomenal levels.

(Note: Washington DC has essentially no white working class component. Almost all non-hispanic whites living in DC have either considerable wealth or a lot of education, or both. We don’t have uneducated white truck drivers or welders or white single moms who are high-school-dropouts working two crappy jobs. Clearly, we do have white waiters and bartenders and such, but they often have college degrees… and no kids… White DC students have the highest NAEP scores in every subject, year after year, than any other subgroup in any other state or city in the US. Don’t believe me? Look at the NAEP yourself.)

percent students at or above prof in reading by ethnicity and FRL eligibilityThe previous graph shows pretty much the same thing except I left “FRPL” as it was originally, instead of spelling it out; it means “Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch” — if you are indeed eligible, then your family is poor. And, this is a graph for reading, instead of math.

percentage of students at or above prof in math by poverty decileThis is my last graph for today. I used their data and tried to make it clearer. It shows how students do by poverty decile of the student body as a whole. ‘First-decile’ schools means the 10% of schools — like Mann, Key, Janney, Lafayette and so on — that have the smallest fraction of FRPL students, i.e., poor kids. The tenth-decile schools are the schools with the highest fraction of kids in poverty — I’m willing to bet they found a lot of schools where the entire student body is eligible for free or reduced price lunches.

I did find it interesting that the kids in the tenth (last) decile actually outscored the students in the seventh decile. Not sure why that is.

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