“The difference between a good and a bad teacher can be a full level of achievement in a single school year.” Eric Hanushek, U of Rochester
“Differences in teacher effectiveness were found to be the dominant factor affecting student academic gains.” Wright, Horn, and Sanders, U of Tennessee
Conclusions? Of all the “controllable” variables in a school district, the one that impacts student achievement the most is teacher quality.
What’s a Good Teacher Worth? From a parent’s perspective? From a school district’s perspective? From a business’s perspective? Beyond an interview, what should principals and district HR managers do to bring in top quality teachers?
Assumptions The only active parts of a school system are the people. Everything else — buildings, computers, textbooks, curricula — just sits there until a person puts it to use to educate students. Better people do better work. Over the long term, the best way to improve is to hire better people.
Key Leverage Points for Better Hiring Recruiting Screening Making Evidence-Based Decisions
Superintendent’s Role Evaluating where you are now Leading improvements
Effective Recruiting If you don’t get this right, you’re pretty much out of luck. Recruiting is competitive marketing 10% creativity; 90% effort
Evaluate Your Recruiting Program Look at yourself through the eyes of an applicant Apply for a teaching job. How welcoming is the process? How much red tape? Check how you stack up against other districts? Why would a top quality candidate choose you? Are your materials professional, up-to-date, and attractive? Brochures Booth Website
Evaluate Your Recruiting Program Are you among the first to get started? Do you have timely data from principals on how many vacancies and what kind? What are your competitive advantages? How are you using them? Anything creative? Or the same old thing?
Lead Improvement Ask HR for upgrades to materials, website (Nov.) Ask for a recruiting plan (January) Dates for starting, interviewing, offers, etc. Projected numbers and positions Sources (where you’ll get the applicants) Methods (how you’ll advertise) Meet with HR and principals (March) Team effort: HR leads process, principals support Schedule times at job fairs for HR, principals, teachers Set an example
Lead Improvement Review meeting (May) Principals: Did you have an ample supply of quality applicants? HR: Did you have sufficient resources, money and people? What were your successes and shortfalls? What improvements should be made for next year? HR produces a revised recruiting plan (January)
Effective Screening Provides data on how likely it is that an applicant will become a high quality teacher. Based on “requirements” Knowledge, skills, motivation needed to perform well Things that cause new teachers to fail (contract non-renewal, terminations, turnover) Understanding what differentiates your best teachers from average performers
Where are you now? Do you have a systematic screening process used by all your schools? Do you have a written list of requirements for teachers? Do you have credible ways of assessing applicants against the requirements?
Exercise 1 List five requirements for the job of teacher. Hint: There are three kinds of requirements. Conceptual (teaching knowledge, intelligence, subject matter knowledge) Motivational (achievement, conscientiousness, work ethic) Interpersonal (classroom management skills, ability to work well with peers, sense of empathy) Have at least one of each kind in your list.
Measurements How do you know if an applicant meets your requirements? Interview – structured, behavioral interview Resume, certifications References Tests Personality Intelligence Simulations
Where are you now? What kind of measures do you use now? Is there a logical connection between the measures and the teacher requirements? Does the measure provide credible information?
Leading Improvement This is a technical area, and your HR manager is likely to need some help (psychometrics). If you’re not using structured interviews, ask HR to learn how and teach everyone else (including site-based councils). Review measures and challenge those that are not credible (in your eyes). Professionally-developed written tests for conceptual skills and personality are cheap and very helpful. Ask HR to start using them.
Exercise 2 List the measures you will use to assess applicants against your requirements. Have at least one measure for each requirement.
Make Evidence-Based Decisions Human decision making Make an initial, quick evaluation Then collect data to support our first impression Willing to use whatever information is available Set the stage for making good decisions Gather good quality information Postpone final judgment until all data is in Compare candidates Involve more that one person in making the decision
Where are you now? Survey principals: “Tell me how you make teacher hiring decisions. What do you look for? How do you evaluate the applicants?” Ask new teachers in different schools to describe how they were hired. Look for: Consistency from school to school Focus on most important requirements Amount and quality of data used to make the decision Ask HR what assistance they give to principals in making hiring decisions.
Leading Improvement Have a “selection plan” for all jobs HR’s responsibility Ensures that Requirements are written down Some thought given on how to assess applicants against the requirements With HR manager, review a hiring decision at each school. Ask to see the selection plan. Have HR and the principal explain how it works.
Recap Hiring top quality teachers is the best way to improve student achievement. Three key leverage points for improving hiring Recruiting Screening Decision making You have Ideas for evaluating where you stand Suggestions for leading improvements A selection plan for teachers