Lessons Learned 1

  • 1,252 views
Uploaded on

 

More in: Education
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
1,252
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0

Actions

Shares
Downloads
23
Comments
1
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Lessons Learned:New Teachers Talk AboutTheir Jobs, Challengesand Long-Range PlansIssue No. 1They’re Not Little Kids Anymore:The Special Challenges of New Teachersin High Schools and Middle SchoolsA Report from the National Comprehensive Centerfor Teacher Quality and Public Agenda PUBLIC AGENDAQuestionnaire design and analysisin cooperation with REL Midwest
  • 2. Lessons Learned:New Teachers Talk AboutTheir Jobs, Challengesand Long-Range PlansIssue No. 1They’re Not Little Kids Anymore:The Special Challenges of New Teachersin High Schools and Middle SchoolsBased on research conducted and reported by Jonathan Rochkind,Amber Ott, John Immerwahr, John Doble and Jean JohnsonA Report from the National Comprehensive Centerfor Teacher Quality and Public AgendaQuestionnaire design and analysis in cooperationwith REL MidwestThis report is available for free download at publicagenda.org.© 2007 National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality and Public Agenda.Unauthorized duplication of this report is a violation of copyright.
  • 3. Table of ContentsIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Finding One: Secondary School Teachers vs.Grade School Teachers—Why They Teachand How Long They’ll Stay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Finding Two: Secondary School Teachers vs.Elementary School Teachers—How PreparedDo They Feel? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Finding Three: Secondary School Teachers vs.Elementary School Teachers—The Drawbacksof Teaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Finding Four: The Special Challengesof Teaching in High-Needs Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Finding Five: How New Teachers WouldImprove the Profession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Finding Six: How Important Is Salary? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Selected Survey Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
  • 4. IntroductionSecondary school It goes without saying that almost all parents Notably, the new high school and middle school teachers are love their children dearly, but nearly 9 in 10 teachers surveyed here are also more likely to more likely to admit that “kids become a lot more challeng- question the preparation they received and say that their ing when they hit the teen years.”1 So in a way, say that their training put too much emphasis training put too it shouldn’t be surprising that first-year teach- on theories of learning versus more practical much emphasis ers who enter the nation’s high schools and classroom issues. middle schools would have different experi- on theories of ences and concerns from those who come into These findings are just a few of the highlights learning versus elementary schools. The differences emerge from the survey of 641 first-year teachers con- more practical strongly in a new survey of first-year teachers ducted in spring 2007. Designed to help lead-classroom issues across the country conducted by the National ers in education and government understand Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality more about the quality of current teacher (NCCTQ) and Public Agenda, with consul- education and on-the-job support for new tation by REL Midwest on questionnaire de- teachers, the survey included more than 100 sign and analysis. The contrasts are striking items covering issues related to teacher train- and may have significant implications for ef- ing, recruitment, professional development forts among policymakers to enhance teacher and retention. The study explored why new preparation, mentoring and support. teachers come into the profession, what their expectations are and what factors contribute It’s just different in high school to their desire to either stay in teaching or According to the survey, new high school and leave it. There are also important findings on middle school teachers are: how first-year teachers view policy issues such as merit pay and alternative certification. • Less likely than elementary school teachers to say that teaching is exactly what they want The benefit of hindsight to be doing; In this report, we lay out what we have heard from first-year teachers across the country and • More likely to report frustrations with stu- take a look at the views of new teachers in dif- dent motivation; ferent circumstances, such as those teaching in high-needs schools versus those teaching in • More likely to be concerned about lack of more prosperous communities. But the con- administrative support in their schools; trasts between the first-year high school and middle school teachers and the first-year el- • Less likely to believe that good teachers can ementary school teachers are among the most lead all students to learn; and significant and strongest emerging from this research. • Less likely to say they regard teaching as a long-term career choice. NCCTQ and Public Agenda, working in con- sultation with REL Midwest on the question- naire and data analysis, focused the research 1 “Easier Said than Done,” Public Agenda 2002. on first-year teachers because we believe their LESSONS LEARNED 4
  • 5. The findings insights may be especially revealing for those America, Troops to Teachers and the Newsuggest that there working to enhance teacher preparation and Teachers Project. The results from this ad- are significant training. Since our respondents were roughly ditional oversample are not included in this challenges in six months into their first teaching jobs, their initial analysis, but will be released later in teaching today’s pre-service preparation was still fresh in their 2007. The comparison of the views of new adolescents that minds. This allowed us to ask detailed ques- “alt-cert” teachers with those entering the tions about their coursework and student profession from college and university-based are not being teaching experiences and get crisp recollec- education programs will be presented at adequately tions. At the same time, the new teachers NCCTQ’s annual conference, “Advanc- addressed in the also had the perspective of having assumed ing Student Achievement Through Effective current system the responsibilities of full-time public school Teaching and Leadership,” which will be host- teachers. Respondents were able to reflect on ed in Washington, D.C. November 5–7, 2007. their experiences—both pre-service and on the job—and comment on the usefulness and In the following pages, we present our key applicability of their preparation. findings on the differences between new sec- ondary and elementary school teachers and Based on the survey results, the vast majority among new teachers in high-needs schools. of the new teachers (96 percent) entered the Each finding is accompanied by charts report- profession through college or university-based ing the responses in more detail. schools of education—most had a B.A. in education (70 percent); 11 percent completed In our view, the survey offers genuine food a fifth-year program to get a degree in edu- for thought concerning how the country at- cation; and 15 percent had a master’s degree tracts, trains, supports, rewards and manages in education. The remaining 4 percent teachers. The findings suggest that there are reported that they had completed an alterna- significant challenges in teaching and moti- tive certification program. Data from the Na- vating today’s adolescents that are not being tional Center for Education Statistics shows adequately addressed in the current system. similar education levels and paths of entry The findings also suggest that the broad policy into the profession.2 debate on how to respond to teacher turnover and retention may need to focus more of its Coming soon attention on the special concerns of second- This survey also included a special over- ary school teachers. All new teachers share sample of new teachers entering the profes- many of the same aspirations and challenges, sion through three of the most prominent but the differences in concerns and challenges alternative certification programs: Teach for between new high school and middle school 2 See nces.ed.gov and teach-now.org for more demographic teachers and new grade school teachers are data on teachers. too significant to be ignored. LESSONS LEARNED 5
  • 6. About the studyCommissioned by the National Comprehen- Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan re-sive Center for Teacher Quality, this nation- search and engagement organization that hasally representative survey aimed to further conducted dozens of opinion studies on publicunderstand the aspirations and experiences education, including surveys of teachers, par-of new teachers, including those teaching in ents, students, principals and superintendents.high-needs schools and coming to the profes- Public Agenda prepared this written reportsion through different paths. Public Agenda and takes full responsibility for its contents.completed a random sample survey of 641 Additional information about Public Agendapublic school teachers during their first year in and its other work in education can be foundthe classroom in spring 2007. NCCTQ , REL at publicagenda.org.Midwest and Public Agenda developed the re-search design for this project working in closeconsultation, and teams from the three orga-nizations cooperated to generate the lines ofinquiry. The survey covered a wide variety oftopics, including the new teachers’ motivationfor entering the profession; subject areas cov-ered during training; experiences as studentteachers; relationships with cooperating teach-ers; experiences as beginning teachers; degreeof support and counsel from colleagues; de-gree of support from administration; expec-tations about their future in the profession;and reactions to different ideas about ways toimprove teacher quality. Complete questionwording and full responses for the findings re-ported here are included beginning on page24. We have also included a more detailedmethodology on page 21. LESSONS LEARNED 6
  • 7. Finding One: Secondary School Teachersvs. Grade School Teachers—Why They Teachand How Long They’ll StayAccording to the survey, a solid majority of 1a. Most new teachers sayall first-year teachers are inspired to teach andare dedicated to the profession. At least dur- teaching subjects they love anding their initial year, most say that they plan helping disadvantaged kids are theto teach for quite a while. But there are im- chief reasons they choose to teachportant differences between the views of newhigh school and middle school teachers and How important was each of the following factorsthose of new grade school teachers. The new to your decision to go into teaching? Would you say that this was one of the most important factors,high school and middle school teachers are less a major factor, a minor factor or not a factor at all?likely to say that teaching is something they’ve One of the most important factorswanted to do for a long time (52 percent for A major factorsecondary school teachers versus 68 percent Teaching a subject that you love and getting kids excited about itfor elementary school teachers), and they areless likely to agree strongly that it’s what they Secondary school 49% 43% 92% teachersreally want to be doing (47 percent versus 61 Elementary school 85%percent). All new teachers say that the idea of teachers 41% 44%teaching subjects they love and helping under-privileged students are more important rea- The idea of putting underprivileged kids on the path to successsons for choosing the profession than practicaladvantages such as summers off and job secu- Secondary school teachers 31% 48% 79%rity. But for the new high school and middle Elementary school 89%school teachers, teaching a subject they love teachers 40% 49%is the somewhat more important factor. Someof the comments from teachers in follow-up e- Having a teacher who really inspired you as a studentmails suggest this distinction could affect their Secondary school 36% 33% 69%feelings about their jobs over time. One mid- teachersdle school teacher told us, for example, “My Elementary school 25% 41% 66% teachersmain reason [for entering the profession] wasto teach students about science and interact The practical job benefits such as summers off, morewith young people.” Yet later, this same teach- time with family and job securityer said, “My utopian dream of having moti- Secondary school teachers 13% 43% 56%vated students who are naturally interested inscience has probably passed. I love interacting Elementary school 15% 37% 51% teacherswith the students and still want to teach themscience, but [I] realize now that most won’t Having a parent or family member who was a teacherappreciate it intrinsically.” Secondary school teachers 9% 16% 25%Note: Question wording in charts may be slightly Elementary school 7% 17% 24%edited for space. Full question wording is available in teachersthe Selected Survey Results at the end of this report. Note: See Selected Survey Results at the end of this reportPercentages may not equal 100 percent due to rounding for total figures.or the omission of some answer categories. Figure 1a. LESSONS LEARNED 7
  • 8. 1b. But new secondary school 1d. New teachers in secondaryteachers are less likely schools are less likelytoBut new secondary school teachers say they have wanted toNew teachers in secondarylifelong see teaching as a schools aretoare less likely to say they have wanted be teachers for a long time career choice teaching as a lifelong less likely to see to be teachers for a long time career choice Would you say that you ended up choosing your Do you think of teaching as a lifelong career choice, current profession by chance, was it something do you think you’ll probably leave the classroom you decided upon in college, or was it something for another job in education, or will you change you had been hoping to do for quite some time? fields altogether? Secondary school teachers 57% Lifelong career choice 68% Probably leave the 52% Hoping to do so classroom for another 28% for quite some time 26% job in education 35% Decided upon in college 9% Change fields 10% Chose it by chance altogether 4% Secondary school teachers Elementary school teachers 0 Elementary school teachers What is your best estimate for how many years you think you’ll be a classroom teacher? 68% Hoping to do so for quite some time 63% More than 10 years 24% Decided upon in college 70% 6% Chose it by chance 15% 6 to 10 years 14% 15% 3 to 5 years 11% 5%Figure 1b. Next year or two 4% Not coming back 1%1c. New secondary school next year 1%teachers are less likely to say Secondary school teachersteaching is exactly what are less New secondary school teachers they Elementary school teacherswant to say teaching is exactly what they likely to be doing Figure 1d. want to be doing Do you agree that teaching is exactly what you wanted—there’s nothing you would rather be doing? 47% Strongly agree 61% 35% Somewhat agree 32% 15% Somewhat disagree 5% 0 3% Strongly disagree 1% Secondary school teachers Elementary school teachersFigure 1c. 0 20 LESSONS LEARNED 8
  • 9. Finding Two: Secondary School Teachersvs. Elementary School Teachers—How PreparedDo They Feel?Overall, the new teachers are confident that The new high school and middle schooltheir students are learning, and most believe teachers are also noticeably less confidentthat even though they are new to teaching, their students are learning. Only 38 percent oftheir students are “lucky to have them.” Most them “strongly agree” that their students areof the high school and middle school teach- “learning and responding” to their teaching,ers say they either majored or minored in the compared with more than half (53 percent)subject they teach and feel confident teaching of elementary school teachers who say this.it in class. Moreover, the majority of the grade Perhaps most haunting for those concernedschool teachers say that they are confident about teachers’ ability to reach out to studentsteaching reading, science and math. of all backgrounds, there is a striking differ- ence among the secondary school teachersYet here again, there are important differences on whether severely disadvantaged studentsin the secondary school teachers’ perspective. can learn in school. While the vast majorityThe new high school and middle school teach- of elementary school teachers (80 percent) sayers are more likely to criticize their training for that “good teachers can lead all students toputting too much emphasis on theory com- learn, even those from poor families or whopared with the practical demands of the class- have uninvolved parents,” significantly fewerroom. More than half (53 percent) say their new high school and middle school teacherspreparation was too theoretical, while just 4 in (62 percent) say this.10 elementary school teachers say this. Someof the teachers gave us specific examples of 2a. The vast majority of teachersthe practical challenges: “I was not preparedto handle the continuous testing of limits that say theymajority of new teachers say The vast are confident that theiris part of being an adolescent,” one told us. students are learning students they are confident that their“I had trouble being consistent and follow- are learninging through with consequences.” Meanwhile, Which of the following two statements comes closer to your own view?another talked about the gap between herpreparation and what she encountered in the I may be new to teaching, but compared with what 80%classroom: “Every day [I have to] fight for my other teachers are doing, 78% my students are probablystudents’ attention. I was prepared to deal with lucky to have methe politics of the school and with the lesson I’m sometimes afraidplanning and extra duties teachers have. I was that my students are 16%completely taken aback by the lack of interest paying a heavy price because of my lack 16%in the students in learning and even more sur- of experienceprised at their disrespect for teachers.” Secondary school teachers Elementary school teachers Figure 2a. LESSONS LEARNED 9
  • 10. 2b. Most new secondary 2d. However, new secondary However, new secondary teachers areschool teachers say they school teachers are more likely more likely to say that their training put too much emphasis on theory versus thefeel well-prepared to teachers Most new secondary school teach topractical challenges of the classroom say that their training puttheir subject or minored in the say they majored too much emphasis on theory subject they teach In college, did you major or minor in the subject Do you feel that your teacher training: area in which you are teaching or not?* Placed too much 53% emphasis on theory and philosophy 40% 81% Yes Struck the right 43% balance between 19% No the two 53% Placed oo much emphasis on 2% handling the practical 4% challenges of teaching Do you find that you are almost always comfortable with your knowledge of the subject area you are Secondary school teachers teaching, or are there too many times when you Elementary school teachers have to scramble to learn it yourself before you have to teach it? Figure 2d. 2e. New secondary school 0 78% Yes, always comfortable teachers are less likely to feel But new secondary school teachers are 20% less likely to feel confident that their No, many times have to scramble confident that their students students are learning and responding 2% Don’t know/refused are their teaching to learning Do you agree or disagree that most days you feel * Asked only of new teachers in secondary schools really confident that your students are learning and responding to your teaching? Agree strongly Agree somewhat Most new elementary school teachers Secondary school say they feel confident in teaching teachers 38% 53% 90%2c. Most new and math reading, science elementary Elementary school 95%teachers say they feel confident 53% 42% teachersin teaching reading, science Figure 2e.and math How confident and well prepared are you in the following subject area?* Very confident Somewhat confident Reading and writing 64% 30% 94% Math 62% 31% 93% Science 38% 49% 87% * Asked only of new teachers in elementary schoolsFigure 2c. LESSONS LEARNED 10
  • 11. 2f. New secondary schoolteachers are school less likelyalso New secondary also teachers aretoless likely tothat goodgood teachers believe believe that teachers can help all students learncan help all students learn Which comes closer to your view? Secondary school teachers 62% Good teachers can lead all students to learn, even those from poor families or who have uninvolved parents 12% It is hard even for good teachers to overcome these barriers 25% Not sure Elementary school teachers 80% Good teachers can lead all students to learn, even those from poor families or who have uninvolved parents 6% It is hard even for good teachers to overcome these barriers 13% Not sure 1% Don’t know/refusedFigure 2f. LESSONS LEARNED 11
  • 12. Finding Three: Secondary School Teachersvs. Elementary School Teachers—The Drawbacksof TeachingPublic Agenda studies of more experienced were persistent: students talking, students upteachers suggest strong concerns about social out of their seats without permission, studentsand discipline issues at the secondary school using cell phones and electronic gaming de-level. For example, nearly 9 in 10 high school vices in class and becoming argumentativeteachers (88 percent) say that the most press- when confronted, students disregarding theing problems facing high schools come from dress code, some minor destruction of prop-“social problems and kids who misbehave” erty, some minor bullying, tardiness, tacit re-rather than academic issues. In another Pub- fusal to complete assignments. All of theselic Agenda study, fewer than 1 in 5 high school were on-going, constant and persistent prob-teachers (18 percent) reported that their stu- lems.” New high school and middle schooldents were civil and respectful to one another. teachers are also somewhat more likely thanMore than half (57 percent) also reported that elementary school students (41 percent versustheir schools had serious problems with drug 33 percent) to consider “too many kids withand alcohol abuse.4 discipline and behavior issues” a major draw- back of teaching.These concerns about the social and disciplineproblems in high schools and middle schools While majorities of all new teachers say theyalso emerged in this study of new teachers. are generally satisfied with their administra-Although very few new teachers in either sec- tors and fellow teachers, new high school andondary or elementary school are concerned middle school teachers are significantly lessabout their personal safety, 51 percent of new content. The differences are especially notablehigh school and middle school teachers say in the new teachers’ views about the advicethat “too many unmotivated students just go- they get from colleagues and mentors. Just aing through the motions” is a major drawback quarter of new high school and middle schoolof their job, compared with just 25 percent of teachers (26 percent) say they get excellent ad-new elementary school teachers. One middle vice from fellow teachers on lesson plans andschool teacher said, for example: “There were teaching techniques, compared with 39 per-a few serious incidents such as fighting, but the cent of elementary school teachers. There is areal problems were less serious, except that they similar 10-point spread on the advice they get about handling unmotivated or misbehaving students. While 31 percent of high school and3 Reality Check 2006,” Public Agenda. (All of Public Agenda’s middle school teachers say they get excellent reports are available at publicagenda.org.) advice on this from colleagues, 41 percent of4 “Sizing Things Up,” Public Agenda 2002. the grade school teachers say this. LESSONS LEARNED 12
  • 13. 3a. New secondary school 3b. New secondary schoolteachers are more likely teachers are also less satisfied New secondary school teachers are alsotoNew secondary school teachers are see unmotivated students with satisfied with the administrative less the administrative supportand misbehaving students as more likely to see unmotivated students they get get support they and misbehaving students as majormajor drawbacks of teaching* drawbacks of teaching* How would you rate the administration at your school when it comes to the following? Based on your personal experience, how much Excellent Good of a drawback would the following be for you? Percent who say major drawback: Providing adequate resources like textbooks and well-equipped classrooms Secondary school teachers Elementary school teachers Secondary school teachers 32% 37% 69% Too many unmotivated Elementary school 51% teachers 50% 35% 85% students just going through the motions 25% Providing instructional leadership and guidance Too many kids 41% with discipline and Secondary school behavior issues 33% 30% 35% 65% teachers There is so much Elementary school teachers 46% 33% 79% testing and not 39% enough freedom 44% to be creative Figure 3b. Low salary and not 33% much opportunity for growth 32% There’s a lack 21% of support from 0 administrators 15% Teachers do not get rewarded for superior 20% effort and performance 21% There is so little prestige associated 10% with being a teacher 12% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Too many threats 3% to personal safety 4% *See Selected Survey Results for complete responses.Figure 3a. LESSONS LEARNED 13
  • 14. 3c. They are also less likelyto say they are gettingexcellent advice from colleagues They are also less likely to say they areand mentors on creating getting excellent advice from colleagues and mentors on how to create strongstrong plans and planshandle lesson lesson how to andhandling problematic students problematic students Now that you are in the classroom, please tell me how you would rate the support you feel you are getting from other teachers or mentors in the following areas: Excellent Good Working and communicating with parents Secondary school teachers 27% 42% 69% Elementary school 37% 42% 79% teachers Handling students who are disruptive or unmotivated Secondary school teachers 31% 38% 69% Elementary school 41% 36% 77% teachers Creating strong lesson plans and teaching techniques Secondary school teachers 26% 43% 69% Elementary school 39% 40% 79% teachers 0 20 40 60 80 100 Working with special needs students Secondary school teachers 25% 36% 61% Elementary school 33% 41% 74% teachersFigure 3c. LESSONS LEARNED 14
  • 15. Finding Four: The Special Challengesof Teaching in High-Needs SchoolsIn addition to comparing the experiences of when it comes to working and communicatingsecondary school teachers with those of el- with parents, while only 69 percent of teach-ementary school teachers, this study explored ers in high needs schools say this is true forthe views of new teachers spending their them. There is a similar pattern in the newfirst months in the classroom in a high-needs teachers’ views about administrative supportschool, defined in this study as a school where in other areas, such as such as handling dis-more than half of the students receive free or cipline problems, having adequate resourcesreduced-price lunch. and receiving instructional guidance.Although most new teachers in high needs There is one area where high-needs teach-schools say their colleagues and mentors are ers are distinctly more troubled than otherhelpful in most areas, they are somewhat less teachers, and it is an important one. The sur-upbeat than their counterparts teaching in vey asked the new teachers whether, as newmore affluent schools. For example, fully 82 teachers, they believed they had been assignedpercent of all new teachers not in high-needs the most difficult and “hardest to reach” stu-schools say they get good or excellent support dents. While only a quarter (25 percent) of new teachers in more affluent situations had5 Although it would be informative to compare the views of new this complaint, 42 percent of the new teach- teachers in high-needs high schools with those of new teachers in other high schools, the sample size of this study is not large ers in high needs schools said this was the case enough to make these comparisons. for them.4a. Teachers in high-needs schools are a little less likely to saythey get help on communicating with parents and working withspecial needs needs schools are aworking with special needs students Teachers in high students on communicating with parents and little less likely to say they get help Now that you are in the classroom, please tell me how you would rate the support you feel you are getting from other teachers or mentors in the following areas. Excellent Good Fair Poor Working and communicating with parents: Working with special needs students: 69% 64% High-needs High-needs 30% 32% 82% 73% Not high-needs Not high-needs 18% 26%Figure 4b. LESSONS LEARNED 15
  • 16. 4b. Most new teachersare positive about theiradministrative support,but teachers in are positive about Most new teachers high-needsschools are slightly less teachers their administrative support, butsatisfiedininschools are slightly less in high need some areas satisfied some areas Percent who give the administration at their school an “excellent” or “good” rating when it comes to the following: Excellent Good Supporting you in handling discipline problems High-needs 39% 33% 72% Not high-needs 56% 23% 79% Providing adequate resources like textbooks Providing adequate resources like textbooks and well-equipped classrooms and well-equipped classrooms: High-needs 38% 38% 76% Not high-needs 49% 30% 79% Providing instructional leadership and guidance Providing instructional leadership and guidance: High-needs 34% 34% 68% Not high-needs 46% 29% 75% Note: These differences are not statistically significant.Figure 4c.4c. Teachers in high-needs schools are significantly more likely Teachers in high needs schools are significantly more likely to think that they havetobeen assigned the toughest classes assigned the toughest classes think that they have been Do you, as a first-year teacher, tend to have the hardest-to-reach students, or is this not the case for you in your school? Teachers in high-needs schools Teachers in non-high-needs schools 56% Not the case 74% Not the case 42% Tend to have 25% Tend to have the hardest to reach the hardest to reachFigure 4d. LESSONS LEARNED 16
  • 17. Finding Five: How New TeachersWould Improve the ProfessionIn addition to asking the new teachers about 5a. Most new teachers say thattheir goals, training and first-year experiences,the survey asked the respondents for their views smaller classes and preparingon a range of ideas for improving the profes- teachers to say that smaller classes New teachers teach in diversesion overall. For all new teachers, regardless classrooms would beteach in diverse and preparing teachers to mostof teaching level, two items topped their list effective in improving teaching classrooms would be most effective inof recommended improvements. First is re- improving teachingducing class size, and second is giving teachers How effective do you think each of the followingbetter preparation to individualize teaching in proposals would be in terms of improvinga diverse classroom. Public Agenda’s surveys teacher quality?of teachers overall show a similar pattern; that Percent who say “very effective:”is, even teachers with more experience rank Reducing class size 76%reducing class size as their top priority for im-proving education. Preparing teachers to adapt or vary their instruction to meet 63% the needs of a diverse classroomWhen the new teachers in this study wereasked why they would prefer smaller classes, Increasing teacher salaries 57%the most common explanation was that it Requiring teachers at theallows them to personalize instruction and secondary school level to major 55%secondarily to give struggling students more in the subjects they are teachinghelp. Other strategies such as eliminating ten- Increasing professional development opportunities 54%ure, tying pay to performance or changing for teacherscertification practices draw significantly lower Making it easier to terminatelevels of interest as ways to improve the pro- unmotivated or incompetent 41% teachersfession overall. Requiring new teachers to spend much more time teaching in 35% classrooms under the supervisionAlthough the new secondary school teachers of experienced teachersand new elementary school teachers generally Requiring teachers to earn 24%agree on which reforms are most likely to be graduate degrees in educationeffective and which would be less so, the high Requiring teachers to pass tough tests of their knowledge 21%school and middle school teachers are some- of the subjects they are teachingwhat less optimistic about the changes having Tying teachers’ salaryan impact. increases to their principals’ 15% and colleagues’ assessments Tying teacher rewards and sanctions to their students’ 13%6 “Stand by Me,” Public Agenda 2003. performance Eliminating teacher tenure 12% Reducing the regulations and requirements for teacher 8% certification Relying more heavily on alternative certification programs 6% LESSONS LEARNED 17
  • 18. New secondary and elementary school teachers agree on which reforms are5b. Secondary teachers compared most likely to be effective, but 5c. Most new teachers sayare their elementary school peers, the to less optimistic about smaller classes would enable secondary teachers are less optimisticeffectiveness of many solutions about many solutions themteachers say smaller classes would New to individualize their lessons more help tomore their lessons enable them to individualize and give and give struggling students help How effective do you think each of the following to struggling students proposals would be in terms of improving teacher quality? Percent who say “very effective”: Which of the following is the biggest benefit of smaller classes, in your view? Reducing class size 72% 79% It’s easier to personalize 54% Preparing teachers to adapt instruction for students 56% with different needs 63% or vary their instruction to meet the needs of a diverse classroom 67% 80 Struggling students 31% 70 get more help 24% 60 Increasing teacher salaries 55% 50 58% 40 6% 30 Classes are more orderly 20 4% Making it easier to terminate 46% 10 unmotivated or incompetent 38% 0 teachers All/combination of these 8% are benefits of smaller classes 8% Requiring teachers at the secondary school level to 55% major in the subjects they 55% 0% 80.000000 are teaching There’s less paperwork 1% 68.571429 57.142857 Increasing professional development opportunities 44% Secondary school teachers 45.714286 for teachers 60% Elementary school teachers 34.285714 22.857143 Requiring new teachers to spend 11.428571 much more time teaching in 33% Figure 5c. 0 20 40 0.000000 60 8 classrooms under the supervision 37% of experienced teachers Requiring teachers to pass 26% tough tests of their knowledge of the subjects they are teaching 18% 80.000000 66.666667 Requiring teachers to earn 20% 53.333333 graduate degrees in education 27% 40.000000 26.666667 Tying teachers’ salary 13.333333 increases to their principals’ 16% and colleagues’ assessments 14% 0.000000 Tying teacher rewards and sanctions to their 12% students’ performance 13% 80 70 60 Eliminating teacher tenure 11% 50 13% 40 30 20 Reducing the regulations 10% 10 and requirements for 0 teacher certification 7% Relying more heavily on 7% alternative certification programs 5% Secondary school teachers Elementary school teachersFigure 5b. LESSONS LEARNED 18
  • 19. Finding Six: How Important Is Salary?There is a broad discussion among policy- “very effective” ways to improve teacher qual-makers and researchers about the role of ity. Again, this echoes findings from other sur-teacher pay in the recruitment and retention veys of new teachers. In 2000, only 12 percentof teachers and significant controversy about of teachers with five years or less of experi-what forms of teacher pay are most likely to ence said that tying teacher rewards or sanc-contribute to teacher effectiveness. To be sure, tions to student performance would be a “verynew teachers do voice concern about salary effective” way to improve teacher quality.9and lack of opportunity for growth, with amajority (78 percent) seeing it as either a ma- Despite this, comments by some new teachersjor or a minor drawback of the profession. in the qualitative research suggest that low payBut only a third of new teachers say salary is combined with a daunting and difficult joba “major” drawback of their profession, and can clearly push some out of the profession.this concern ranks well below issues such as One middle school teacher told us: “I origi-unmotivated students, testing and classroom nally wanted to teach more than one year, butdiscipline problems. In fact, more than two- it doesn’t seem worth it. … Teaching for methirds of new teachers say it is possible for was a lot of work with very little pay off mon-a teacher to make a decent living, and new etarily, emotionally or personally. I also feelteachers overwhelmingly would choose better like I am able to offer a lot more to the kids Iworking conditions over higher salaries. am working with in a non-school setting.”Findings about compensation among first-year 6a. Only a third of newteachers echo similar results from teachers in teachers see low salaryother Public Agenda research.7 Although “payfor performance” or “merit pay” approaches and little opportunity forare prominent parts of the national discus- growththird a major drawback Only a as of new teachers see lowsion on improving teacher effectiveness,8 the ofsalary and little opportunity for growth the professionapproach was not a high priority for the new as a major drawback of the professionteachers surveyed here. Only 1 in 5 say the Do you believe that low salary and not muchfact that teachers do not get rewarded for su- opportunity for growth are drawbacks to teaching?perior performance is a major drawback ofthe profession. Moreover, fewer than 1 in 6 33% Major drawbackbelieve that tying salary increases to princi-pals’ and colleagues’ assessments (15 percent) 45% Minor drawbackor tying teacher rewards and sanctions to theirstudents’ performance (13 percent) would be 22% Not a drawback7 In “Stand by Me” (Public Agenda 2003), a plurality of teach- ers said that the best way to improve quality of teaching is Figure 6a. to improve working conditions, as opposed to financially re- warding outstanding teachers or increasing pay for teachers overall.8 See “Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers,” New York Times June 18, 2007, as an example.9 “A Sense of Calling,” Public Agenda 2000. LESSONS LEARNED 19
  • 20. 6b. Most new teachers say it is 6d. Comparatively few newpossible for teachers to make a teachers say lack of merit payreasonable living it is possible Most new teachers say is a major drawback to teaching, for teachers to make a reasonable living and fewnew teachers say lackbe merit Very few think it would of an Thinking about the profession of teaching, do you effective way to improve the pay is a major drawback to teaching qualityimproveitthe qualityan effective and few think would be think that the nature of the job means teachers are never well paid, or do you think it is very possible way to of teaching of teaching for a teacher to make a reasonable living? Is it a drawback to teaching that teachers do not get rewarded for superior effort and performance? 68% It is very possible for a teacher to make a reasonable living 20% Major drawback 31% Teachers are never paid well 2% Don’t know/refused 50% Minor drawback 29% Not a drawbackFigure 6b.6c. Large majorities say they Would tying teachers’ salary increases to their principals’ and colleagues’ assessments be effectivewould choose schools with bet- at improving teacher quality?ter student behavior and paren-tal and administrative support Large majorities say they would choose 15% Very effective schools with better student behavior andover schools with a significantly parental and administrative support over 37% Somewhat effectivehigher salary schools with a significantly higher salary 24% Not too effective 22% Not at all effective Given a choice between two schools in otherwise identical districts, which would you prefer to work in? Would tying teacher rewards and sanctions to their students’ performance be effective at improving The school where teacher quality? student behavior 83% and parental support 83% were significantly better 13% Very effective The school that 15% 30% Somewhat effective paid a significantly 16% higher salary 27% Not too effective Secondary school teachers 28% Not at all effective Elementary school teachers The school where 76% Figure 5d. administrators gave 81% strong backing and support to teachers The school that 23% paid a significantly 19% higher salary Secondary school teachers 0 20 40 60 80 100 Elementary school teachersFigure 6c. LESSONS LEARNED 20
  • 21. MethodologyThis survey includes interviews with a nation- Respondents were asked 111 items. Theseally representative sample of 641 first-year included screener questions to ensure ourschool teachers throughout the continental respondents were first-year teachers, demo-United States. We also conducted oversamples graphic questions to describe the teachersof teachers who participated in alternative who took part in our survey and closed-endedteaching certification programs. Those inter- opinion questions. This questionnaire uses aviews are not included in this analysis but will blend of different kinds of questions, some ofbe included in subsequent reports on this data. which tackle similar issues in different ways.Data were collected by telephone or online Most questions ask the respondents to use abetween March 12 and April 23, 2007. In de- scale (either three or four points) to rate dif-signing the survey questions and sample, Pub- ferent aspects of their training or experienceslic Agenda conducted interviews with leading teaching and to measure the strength of vari-experts from both university-based schools of ous beliefs they may have about teaching. Theeducation and alternative programs to discuss full questionnaire is available at ncctq.comthe sampling frame and the topics to explore in and publicagenda.org.the survey. The National Comprehensive Cen-ter for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ), the Farkas Many of our four-point scales are LikertDuffett Research Group and REL Midwest scales, where we ask the degree to which a re-were consulted further regarding sampling, spondent accepts a particular statement.10 Insurvey topics and questionnaire design. the report, we often collapse the choices to the nominal level by combining the positive andThe sample includes oversamples of teachers negative responses.11 Those interested in see-in both Midwest and high-needs schools. The ing the degree to which someone agreed orfinal data were weighted to account for the disagreed with the statement can consult ei-disproportionate sample design. Final results ther the charts in the report, which break outbased on the general sample are representa- the strength of acceptance, or the full ques-tive of all first-year teachers’ continental U.S. tionnaire and results at ncctq.com and publi-public schools. The margin of sampling error cagenda.org.for the complete set of weighted data is ±4percent. The response rate for this survey was We also used questions in which respondents29 percent, which is derived as the product of are asked to choose between two mutuallythe contact rate (32 percent), the cooperation exclusive and balanced statements involvingrate (89 percent) and the completion rate (99 tradeoffs. Analyzed in context with other re-percent). Respondents deemed ineligible be- sults, these “forced choice” items shed light oncause they were not first-year teachers or wereno longer teachers were excluded from the 10 Likert, R,. “A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes”survey. Further details on the design, execu- Archives of Psychology 140 (1932): 55.tion and analysis of the survey are discussed 11 Collapsing Likert scales into their nominal components (agree/disagree) is a commonly used technique in publicon the NCCTQ website, ncctq.org. opinion research. After transforming the data, it is subject to chi-square assessments. LESSONS LEARNED 21
  • 22. respondents’ priorities and avoid the central This items mirrors a comment by a new teach-tendency bias inherent in Likert-style ques- er in a focus group: “I think it’s absolutely ations. The choices themselves may be artifi- matter of testing taking away too much timecial, but they typically echo natural language … You are very restricted in the amount ofgleaned from qualitative research. This ques- time that you have to try new, creative theo-tionnaire reflects the language and expres- ries, because you have to get this, this and thissions used by teachers during focus groups in before.”for this project and from previous researchwith teachers. Obviously, compound items could be asked separately, and other researchers may wish toFor example, one of the questions asked tease them apart in future research.new teachers: Focus groupsWhich comes closer to your view? Focus groups allow for an in-depth, qualitative exploration of the dynamics underlying the1. I may be new to teaching, but compared to what public’s attitudes toward complex issues. In- other teachers are doing, my students are probably sights from participants in these focus groups lucky to have me [OR] were important to the survey design. All focus groups were moderated by Public Agenda se-2. I’m sometimes afraid that my students are paying nior staff. a heavy price because of my lack of experience Four focus groups were conducted. One wasThis item is drawn directly from the qualita- with participants in an alt-cert program intive research where a new teacher said in a the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region. Twofocus group, “I’m a teacher to these kids. I’m more were also conducted in Philadelphia,not qualified at all. Yet I’m still possibly bet- one with senior education majors and mas-ter than what could be there. It’s absolutely ter’s-plus students from an urban universityridiculous.” Since the other teachers in the fo- and one with the same population from a sub-cus group agreed with this perspective, we de- urban university. The last group was conduct-cided to counter-balance the notion that stu- ed in Chicago, Illinois, with first-year teachersdents are lucky to have the new teacher with in an urban alt-cert program and with urbanone that gives an equally reasonable, but very master’s-plus students.different response. In this instance, the presen-tation of the second viewpoint is intended to Follow-up e-mailstest and probe whether this response is strong- To more fully examine new teachers’ views only held even when positioned against a robust student behavior in the classroom and theiralternative. teacher preparation, seven follow-up ques- tions were sent to survey respondents who of-In a few instances, the questionnaire contains fered their e-mail addresses to researchers. Ac-compound questions combining two seem- tual quotes were drawn from email responsesingly separate concepts. The decision to com- to give voice to attitudes captured statisticallybine concepts within a single item mirrors the through the surveys.way teachers discuss and couple ideas in focusgroups. Questions were as follows:For example, one item in our series of 1. Thinking about your classes last year, how wouldquestions about potential drawbacks to you rate your students’ overall behavior—excellent,teaching is the following: good, fair or poor?There is so much testing and not enough freedomto be creative LESSONS LEARNED 22
  • 23. 2. Can you give an example of some students’ behavior 5. What was your MAIN reason for becoming last year that illustrates the rating you gave above? a teacher?3. Last year, what aspect of the job did you feel least 6. Now that you have a year of teaching experience do prepared for? you think this reason will motivate you to continue teaching? Why or why not?4. Can you think of a particular classroom experience that you did not feel prepared for? 7. Last year, did you teach in an elementary school, a middle or junior high school, or a high school? LESSONS LEARNED 23
  • 24. Selected Survey Results1 Would you say that you ended up choosing your current profession Secondary Elementary school school by chance, was it something you decided upon in college, or was it Total teachers teachers something you had been hoping to do for quite some time? (%) (%) (%) Chose it by chance 8 10 6 Decided upon in college 28 35 24 Hoping to do for quite some time 62 52 68 Don’t know 2 3 12 How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? Having a teacher who really inspired you as a student One of the most important factors 29 36 25 A major factor 38 33 41 A minor factor 22 19 23 Not a factor at all 11 12 10 Don’t know * – * Having a parent or family member who was a teacher One of the most important factors 7 9 7 A major factor 17 16 17 A minor factor 17 17 17 Not a factor at all 58 57 58 Don’t know 1 1 * The idea of putting underprivileged kids on the path to success One of the most important factors 37 31 40 A major factor 49 48 49 A minor factor 12 17 8 Not a factor at all 3 2 3 Don’t know * 1 – The practical job benefits such as summers off, more time with family and job security One of the most important factors 14 13 15 A major factor 39 43 37 A minor factor 35 32 37 Not a factor at all 12 12 12 Don’t know * – * Teaching a subject that you love and getting kids excited about it One of the most important factors 44 49 41 A major factor 44 43 44 A minor factor 9 7 11 Not a factor at all 3 1 3 Don’t know 1 – 1 LESSONS LEARNED 24
  • 25. 3 Here are some things that are often considered to be drawbacks to teaching. Based on your personal experience, please tell us whether Secondary Elementary each is a major drawback, a minor drawback, or not a drawback for you: school school Total teachers teachers Low salary and not much opportunity for growth (%) (%) (%) Major drawback 33 33 32 Minor drawback 45 45 44 Not a drawback 22 21 23 Don’t know * – 1 There is so little prestige associated with being a teacher Major drawback 12 10 12 Minor drawback 35 35 35 Not a drawback 53 55 52 Don’t know * – * There’s a lack of support from administrators Major drawback 17 21 15 Minor drawback 36 36 35 Not a drawback 47 42 49 Don’t know 1 1 1 Teachers do not get rewarded for superior effort and performance Major drawback 20 20 21 Minor drawback 50 53 48 Not a drawback 29 27 30 Don’t know 1 * 1 Too many threats to personal safety Major drawback 3 3 4 Minor drawback 29 32 27 Not a drawback 67 64 69 Don’t know * 1 * There is so much testing and not enough freedom to be creative Major drawback 42 39 44 Minor drawback 44 45 44 Not a drawback 13 17 11 Don’t know * – 1 Too many kids with discipline and behavior issues Major drawback 36 41 33 Minor drawback 45 42 46 Not a drawback 19 17 20 Don’t know * – * Too many unmotivated students just going through the motions Major drawback 34 51 25 Minor drawback 45 42 47 Not a drawback 21 8 28 Don’t know * – * LESSONS LEARNED 25
  • 26. Secondary Elementary school school4 What is your best estimate for how many years you think you’ll be Total teachers teachers a classroom teacher? (%) (%) (%) Next year or two 4 5 4 3 to 5 years 12 15 11 6 to 10 years 14 15 14 More than 10 years 68 63 70 Not coming back next year 1 1 1 Don’t know 1 1 15 Do you think of teaching as a lifelong career choice, do you think you’ll probably leave the classroom for another job in education, or will you change fields altogether? Lifelong career choice 64 57 68 Probably leave the classroom for another job in education 27 28 26 Change fields altogether 6 9 4 Don’t know 4 6 29 Thinking about the profession of teaching, do you think that the nature of the job means teachers are never well paid or do you think it is very possible for a teacher to make a reasonable living? Teachers are never paid well 31 30 31 It is very possible for a teacher to make a reasonable living 68 68 67 Don’t know 2 2 210 Given a choice between two schools in otherwise identical districts, which would you prefer to work in? The school that paid a significantly higher salary 15 15 16 The school where student behavior and parental support were significantly better 83 83 83 Don’t know 1 2 111 Given a choice between two schools in otherwise identical districts, which would you prefer to work in … The school which paid a significantly higher salary 20 23 19 The school where administrators gave strong backing and support to teachers 79 76 81 Don’t know 1 1 112 In college, did you major or minor in the subject area in which you are teaching, or not? Yes 73 81 N/A No 26 19 N/A Don’t know * * N/A13 Do you find that you are almost always comfortable with your knowledge of the subject area you are teaching, or are there too many times when you have to scramble to learn it yourself before you have to teach it? Always comfortable 81 78 N/A Many times have to scramble 17 20 N/A Don’t know 1 1 N/A LESSONS LEARNED 26
  • 27. Secondary Elementary school school14 How confident and well-prepared are you in reading and writing? Total teachers teachers (Base: Elementary school teachers) (%) (%) (%) Very confident and well-prepared 64 – 64 Somewhat confident and well-prepared 30 – 30 Not too confident and well-prepared 3 – 3 Not at all confident and well-prepared * – * Don’t know 2 – 223 Overall, looking back, would you say you were prepared or unprepared for this first year of teaching? Very prepared 42 36 46 Somewhat prepared 38 38 37 Somewhat unprepared 16 22 12 Very unprepared 3 2 3 Don’t know 1 1 224 Do you feel that your teacher training put too much emphasis on the theory and philosophy of education, or did it put too much emphasis on handling the practical challenges of teaching, or did it strike the right balance between the two? Too much emphasis on the theory and philosophy 45 53 40 Too much emphasis on handling the practical challenges of teaching 3 2 4 Struck the right balance between the two 50 43 53 Don’t know 2 1 325 Now that you are in the classroom, please tell me how you would rate the support you feel you are getting from other teachers or mentors in the following areas: Creating strong lesson plans and teaching techniques Excellent 34 26 39 Good 41 43 40 Fair 16 21 14 Poor 8 10 7 Don’t know * 1 * Handling students who are disruptive or unmotivated Excellent 37 31 41 Good 37 38 36 Fair 19 22 17 Poor 7 9 5 Don’t know * * * Working and communicating with parents Excellent 34 27 37 Good 42 42 42 Fair 17 21 15 Poor 7 10 5 Don’t know * – 1 Working with special needs students Excellent 30 25 33 Good 39 36 41 Fair 20 24 18 Poor 8 12 6 Don’t know 2 3 2 LESSONS LEARNED 27
  • 28. 26 Please tell us the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements. Secondary Elementary school school Most days I feel really confident that my students are learning Total teachers teachers and responding to my teaching (%) (%) (%) Strongly agree 48 38 53 Somewhat agree 46 53 42 Somewhat disagree 6 9 4 Strongly disagree 1 1 * Don’t know * – * Teaching is exactly what I wanted—there is nothing I’d rather be doing Strongly agree 56 47 61 Somewhat agree 33 35 32 Somewhat disagree 9 15 5 Strongly disagree 2 3 1 Don’t know * – *27 Which of the following two statements comes closer to your own view? I may be new to teaching, but compared to what other teachers are doing, my students are probably lucky to have me 79 80 78 I’m sometimes afraid that my students are paying a heavy price because of my lack of experience 16 16 16 Don’t know 5 4 628 Which comes closer to your view? Good teachers can lead all students to learn, even those from poor families or who have uninvolved parents 74 62 80 It is too hard even for good teachers to overcome these barriers 8 12 6 Not sure 17 25 1331 How would you rate the administration at your school when it comes to the following? Supporting you in handling discipline problems Excellent 47 41 51 Good 28 30 27 Fair 16 19 14 Poor 9 11 7 Don’t know – – – Providing adequate resources like textbooks and well-equipped classrooms Excellent 43 32 50 Good 36 37 35 Fair 14 19 11 Poor 7 12 4 Don’t know * – * Providing instructional leadership and guidance Excellent 40 30 46 Good 33 35 33 Fair 18 24 15 Poor 8 11 7 Don’t know – – – LESSONS LEARNED 28
  • 29. 33 How effective do you think each of the following proposals would be in terms of improving teacher quality? Secondary Elementary school school Requiring new teachers to spend much more time teaching in classrooms Total teachers teachers under the supervision of experienced teachers (%) (%) (%) Very effective 35 33 37 Somewhat effective 41 42 40 Not too effective 16 17 15 Not at all effective 6 7 6 Don’t know 1 1 2 Requiring teachers to earn graduate degrees in education Very effective 24 20 27 Somewhat effective 37 39 36 Not too effective 24 26 23 Not at all effective 13 14 12 Don’t know 2 2 2 Requiring teachers at the secondary school level to major in the subjects they are teaching Very effective 55 55 55 Somewhat effective 32 31 33 Not too effective 7 9 6 Not at all effective 3 4 3 Don’t know 2 1 2 Eliminating teacher tenure Very effective 12 11 13 Somewhat effective 31 31 31 Not too effective 27 27 27 Not at all effective 22 24 21 Don’t know 8 6 9 Making it easier to terminate unmotivated or incompetent teachers Very effective 41 46 38 Somewhat effective 43 39 46 Not too effective 9 11 9 Not at all effective 3 3 4 Don’t know 3 2 4 Requiring teachers to pass tough tests of their knowledge of the subjects they are teaching Very effective 21 26 18 Somewhat effective 43 43 43 Not too effective 22 20 23 Not at all effective 13 11 15 Don’t know 1 1 1 Increasing teacher salaries Very effective 57 55 58 Somewhat effective 36 38 35 Not too effective 5 4 5 Not at all effective 2 1 2 Don’t know 1 2 * LESSONS LEARNED 29
  • 30. 33 [continued) How effective do you think each of the following proposals Secondary Elementary would be in terms of improving teacher quality? school school Total teachers teachers Reducing the regulations and requirements for teacher certification (%) (%) (%) Very effective 8 10 7 Somewhat effective 24 24 23 Not too effective 29 28 30 Not at all effective 36 34 37 Don’t know 3 4 2 Relying more heavily on alternative certification programs Very effective 6 7 5 Somewhat effective 29 30 29 Not too effective 34 36 33 Not at all effective 20 18 22 Don’t know 11 9 11 Tying teacher rewards and sanctions to their students’ performance Very effective 13 12 13 Somewhat effective 30 27 33 Not too effective 27 29 25 Not at all effective 28 30 26 Don’t know 2 2 3 Tying teachers’ salary increases to their principals’ and colleagues’ assessments Very effective 15 16 14 Somewhat effective 37 35 38 Not too effective 24 26 23 Not at all effective 22 21 23 Don’t know 2 2 3 Reducing class size Very effective 76 72 79 Somewhat effective 21 25 20 Not too effective 1 1 * Not at all effective 1 1 * Don’t know 1 1 1 Increasing professional development opportunities for teachers Very effective 54 44 60 Somewhat effective 39 46 35 Not too effective 3 4 3 Not at all effective 2 4 1 Don’t know 2 2 2 Preparing teachers to adapt or vary their instruction to meet the needs of a diverse classroom Very effective 63 56 67 Somewhat effective 31 37 28 Not too effective 3 3 2 Not at all effective 1 2 – Don’t know 2 3 2 LESSONS LEARNED 30
  • 31. 34 Which of the following is the biggest benefit of smaller classes, in your view? Secondary Elementary school school (Base: Those who think reducing class size would be very or somewhat effective at improving Total teachers teachers teacher quality) (%) (%) (%) Classes are more orderly 5 6 4 It’s easier to personalize instruction for students with different needs 60 54 63 Struggling students get more help 27 31 24 There’s less paperwork 1 * 1 All/Combination of these are benefits of smaller classes (Vol.) 8 8 8 Other * * – Don’t know * – * LESSONS LEARNED 31
  • 32. Characteristics of the sample TotalAre you teaching any subjects that do not match your current certification or area of study? (%)Yes 11No 87Don’t know/Refused 2Last school grade teachers completed:Less than a 4-year college degree 2College graduate (B.S., B.A., or other 4-year degree) 59Some post-graduate training or professional schooling after college (in Master’s or Ph.D program, e.g.) but no degree 54Masters, Ph.D or other higher degree 17Teachers rank themselves in high school as:An excellent student 43A good student 45A fair student 9A poor student 1Don’t know/Refused 1Teachers who are of Hispanic or Latino background:Yes 7No 91Don’t know/Refused 2Race of teachers:White 84Black/African-American 5Asian 3Other or mixed race 5Don’t know/Refused 3 LESSONS LEARNED 32
  • 33. AcknowledgmentsThe authors of “Lessons Learned” would like to thank the following people for their supportand assistance during the preparation of this report:Our partners at the National Comprehensive Center for Teaching Quality, especially SabrinaLaine, Amy Jackson, Laura Goe and Jane Coggshall, and REL Midwest, particularly SteveCantrell, Jean Hess and Chris Brandt, for their expertise and valuable advice on questionnairedesign and survey analysis. We appreciate their reliable good humor and spirit of teamworkand cooperation that has been so evident throughout this project;Ann Duffett and Steve Farkas, of the Farkas Duffett Research Group, for their consultationand guidance at the beginning stages of this research and on the sample design and question-naire development;Richard Correti, of the University of Michigan, and Sarah Enterline, of Boston College,for their thoughtful review of our findings and their presentation;Chiaki Rochkind and Valerie Mitchell for their indispensable input on the questionnaire;Deborah Wadswoth, Thomas Payzant and Hugh Price for their advice in the early stagesof the project;Scott Bittle, Peiting Chen, Jenny Choi and David White, of Public Agenda Online,for bringing this report to the attention of our online audience;Daniel Yankelovich, who joined Cyrus Vance more than two decades ago to foundPublic Agenda. Dan’s thinking on public opinion remains at the core of our work;And Public Agenda president Ruth A. Wooden for her vision, insight and guidance. LESSONS LEARNED 33
  • 34. About the National Comprehensive Centerfor Teacher QualityThe National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ) is the premier nationalresource to which the regional comprehensive assistance centers, states and other educationstakeholders turn for strengthening the quality of teaching—especially in high-poverty, low-performing, and hard-to-staff schools—and for finding guidance in addressing specific needs,thereby ensuring highly qualified teachers are serving students with special needs.NCCTQ , funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is a collaborative effort of the Educa-tion Commission of the States, ETS, Learning Point Associates and Vanderbilt University.About REL MidwestREL Midwest is part of a federally funded network of 10 regional educational laboratories, andit exists to bring the latest and best research and proven practices to school improvement efforts.Serving the seven states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin,REL Midwest provides policymakers and practitioners with resources based on the highest-quality evidence as defined by scientifically valid research principles.REL Midwest’s work includes short-term, fast-response applied research and developmentprojects based on annual needs-sensing data as well as studies conducted over a five-year periodusing randomized controlled trials. A National Laboratory Network website is the primary dis-semination vehicle for reports, briefs, and other materials issued from each of the 10 regionallaboratories. In addition to disseminating resources and information through the national web-site, REL Midwest will use webcasts, e-mails and stakeholder meetings in its regional commu-nications efforts.About Public AgendaFounded in 1975 by social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich and former U.S. Secretaryof State Cyrus Vance, Public Agenda works to help the nation’s leaders better understandthe public’s point of view and to help average citizens better understand critical policy issues.Our in-depth research on how citizens think about policy has won praise for its credibility andfairness from elected officials from both political parties and from experts and decision mak-ers across the political spectrum. Our citizen education materials and award-winning website,publicagenda.org, offer unbiased information about the challenges the country faces. Twicenominated for the prestigious Webby award for best political site, Public Agenda Online pro-vides comprehensive information on a wide range of policy issues. LESSONS LEARNED 34