Gates Foundation study: We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher

See on Scoop.itThe teaching professional

A three-year, $45 million study of 3,000 teachers turns up answers to a central question.

Judith Morais‘s insight:

I agree with many of the ideas brought forth in this article.

1. That teachers need to be supervised by a competent range of people who can develop their skills further.

2. Test scores cannot be used without recognising what the teacher has inherited and how the teacher has moved the students along the continuum.

3. Student evaluations can be tricky. When students recognise the power that they can have by choosing what they say or not say, we need discerning individuals in administration who can see through to the truth. I’ve seen too many mistakes in this area in my experience.

See on


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by celtorigin on January 20, 2013 at 3:52 am

    How can admin see through to the truth if they are not exposed to it? The nature of their job keeps them away from the classroom. How much value do they place in the word of the teachers or students. With budget constraints the admin workload of both admin and teachers has increased – reports, audits, planning, etc. Could the solution be to tag each student with a scores in various areas, e.g arts, sciences, sport, music, social skills, etc. so that the improvement can be gauged; much like a golf handicap? The system has to be in place before results can be realised. Schools with a fair degree of independence can try this approach on a parallel track and the results could create a more balanced evaluation of teachers and determine the areas of strength and weakness. Should teachers be similarly tagged?


  2. I agree that the key is in closing the gap between admin and the classroom teacher. The key to this, I believe, is the HOD. Strong hods will be able to know their teachers, and know what the school needs. They will then be able to help their teachers move in the right direction.
    Yes, data is key. When gathered carefully, it need not be an overwhelming task, or a waste of time. And it will allow legitimate conclusions about performance and progress to be reached.


  3. Posted by celtorigin on January 30, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for your thoughts. The crux of the problem in most school environments is determining the organisation structure and who to promote. Good teachers may not make good HODs. School administrators may not be the best people to judge teachers.

    The ideal school system rewards good teachers; sometimes promoting them to the point of incompetence…the Peter Principle. However the Dilbert Principle is also common in the education sector as good teachers are needed at the ground level. The HOD then may or may not be competent.

    The ability of teachers can be gauged by their performance in educating the cohort they are responsible for. If there is a system to monitor the progress of the students, the teacher can be rewarded. In such a case the teacher could be rewarded and promoted within a ‘silo’ to “HOD”, “Master Teacher Grade x’ or ‘Teacher Mentor Grade x’ etc. The option to switch silos based on the ability or willingness to change should remain open to provide those with the ability or aspiration to opt in or out. I believe that this would motivate teachers and lead to greater fulfilment. The progress of students is being monitored in today’s systems but is the key that is not being used effectively.


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