New Study Proves High Value of Experienced Teachers

Diane Ravitch’s blog: A site to discuss better education for all, 11/27/13

Mathematica Policy Research released a study that proves that experience matters.

Some readers thought the study was about merit pay, but it was not. Merit pay has never worked.

Merit pay studies usually compare one group of teachers matched to a similar group. One group is offered a bonus if they can raise test scores, the other is not. The bonus is supposed to incentivize the teachers to push their students to achieve higher test scores.

But that is not what happened in this study.

In this study, the the bonus was awarded for transferring to the low-performing school for two years, not for getting higher test scores.

What the study demonstrates is that if you offer a bonus of $20,000, you might attract the top talent in the district to teach in low-performing schools, and these older, experienced teachers will get better results than regular teachers, many of whom are brand new to teaching.

In her story about the study, Dana Goldstein noted:

It’s also worth pointing out that these transfer teachers were far from the Teach for America archetype of a young, transient Ivy League grad. Their average age was 42, and they had an average of 12 years of experience in the classroom. They were also more likely than control group teachers to be African-American, to be homeowners, and to hold a master’s degree. In short, they were stable adults with deep ties to the cities in which they worked….

read more at Diane Ravitch’s blog: A site to discuss better education for all


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