This section provides a definition of beginning teacher effectiveness and expands on the aspects that make up this definition. NExT’s commitment to culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy positions this work within a frame that values equity-based education.
Defining beginning teacher effectiveness
As teacher educators, we recognize that all teachers develop over time and cannot be expected to achieve teaching mastery in their first or second year in the classroom. Our definition of teacher effectiveness is therefore specific to beginning teachers as they exit teacher preparation programs and enter their early career as teachers.
We understand “teacher effectiveness” as an umbrella term comprising both teaching quality and teaching impact.
Teaching quality is a measure of competence, good teaching practice, leadership, and professional engagement. It may include some combination of teachers’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions in their everyday work with students and colleagues as well as other data on career success such as leadership and professional engagement.
Teaching impact is a measure of P‐12 student outcomes. It may include some combination of measures of achievement and growth, engagement, attendance, behavior, citizenship, social and emotional learning, or longer‐term outcomes such as college matriculation or employment. These outcomes reflect the multiple purposes of schooling, which may vary widely from school to school and from community to community.
Due to the fluid and relational nature of teacher effectiveness, researchers recognize that evaluating it presents an array of challenges (Noell, Brownell, Buzick, & Jones, 2014; Wei & Pecheone, 2010). Among these challenges are increasing external accountability for teacher preparation programs (Tatto, Richmond, & Andrews, 2016) and the impact their candidates have on P-12 student learning and development (Popham, 2013). Policy movements toward using singular measures such as student achievement scores, often through value-added measures, have proven problematic. For example, accurately attributing instructional impact to a single teacher ignores the impact of previous teachers as well as the multiple teachers a student might have simultaneously (Popham, 2013). Statistical stability of value-added measures has also come into question when achievement tests have ceiling effects or students are not randomly assigned to classrooms (Darling-Hammond, 2013). We are advocating that teacher effectiveness be determined using a multiple measures approach, using more local approaches for examining the impact a teacher has on student learning within their classrooms.