When you become a good teacher, you stop improving?

Some expert comments summarized by the Post’s ever-enterprising Jeremy Meyer:

Teachers stop showing signs of improvement after about four years on the job — even after a master’s degree or obtaining tenure, said Jane Hannaway, founding director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

“It’s one of our very consistent findings,” said Hannaway, presenter last week at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in San Diego, citing at least two recent studies of teacher effectiveness.

I could not find any specific report associated with her comments, but it’s also worth noting that this is not a partisan source. I’ll keep looking, and if anyone locates an associated study, please send me the link.  Testimony of hers to the DC City council is here, but it is not as direct. [UPDATE: The Urban Institute passed on the references: good-teachers-blog hat tip to Jeremy]

But what to make of this data when anecdotal opinion and other studies continue to argue that it takes 3-5 years before a teacher really hits their stride?  The point on masters degrees and tenure should by now be irrefutable, but the suggestion that there is no substantial increase in performance is new.

Part of this, of course, is how one measures performance.  The last sentence of Jeremy’s piece makes it clear that Hannaway is looking at improvements in student test scores.  While I fear this will set off the predictable debate over the ineffectiveness of test scores (or any metrics) as a perfect measurement, in lieu of other data it has to be considered relevant.


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1 Response to When you become a good teacher, you stop improving?

  1. Jerry says:

    ‘Teachers stop improving after three years’

    Times Edicational Supplement Scotland
    14 December, 2012
    Emma Seith

    Last Updated:14 December, 2012

    ..Academic claims most practitioners improve rapidly at first and then stop

    Most teachers stop improving after two or three years in the job, according to a leading academic.

    Google headline for full article.

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