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Educator Effectiveness

Shaping Teacher Quality and Student Experience in Massachusetts: Alignment of Preparation and Licensure Systems with Teacher Effects on BIPOC Student non-Test Outcomes

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is examining the extent to which Massachusetts' teacher preparation and licensing systems produce educators who are effective in improving outcomes for students of color. With support from USED's Institute of Education Sciences, this 3-year research study centers the experiences of students of color, defines outcomes beyond standardized test scores, and identifies characteristics of educators who have the greatest impact. In particular, we leverage Massachusetts' unique state longitudinal data system (SLDS) to measure teacher impact on students in ways not captured by standardized test scores, including immediate outcomes such as absences, discipline, and grade progression as well as long-term outcomes such as college enrollment and civic engagement- all of which are broadly referred to as non-test outcomes.

The research questions are as follows:

  1. What is the variation in teacher effects on students' non-test outcomes in Massachusetts? What are the relationships between short-run measures of teacher effectiveness (test value-added, non-test value-added, and performance evaluations) and short- and long-run student outcomes?
  2. How predictive are features of the state's preparation and licensing system of teacher effects on non-test outcomes?
  3. What Educator Preparation Provider practices are intended to prepare teachers who are effective in improving outcomes for students of color? To what extent do preparation programs using these practices identify teachers who are effective in improving outcomes for students of color?

This project advances new research on teachers' contribution to students' non-test outcomes, and has the potential to drive changes in several policy areas including the evaluation of teacher education programs, the design of licensing tests, and the recruitment, development, and retention of teachers who are effective at improving students' test and non-test outcomes.

DESE is engaging in this work with guidance from an advisory board comprised of representatives from K12 schools and districts, educator preparation, educational research, and student/family advocacy groups. These advisory board members are leading voices for educational equity and social justice:

  • Milagros "Milly" Arbaje-Thomas, President & CEO, Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity
  • Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Professor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  • Joseph Corazzini, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at Clark University
  • Ashley Davis, Director, Springpoint
  • Jennifer Hedrington, Assistant Principal, Cambridge Public Schools, 2021 MA Teacher of the Year
  • Andrew Dean Ho, Psychometrician, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Ron Ferguson, Economist, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Lorena Lopera, Boston School Committee
  • Kenann McKenzie, Director, Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center at Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
  • Takeru "TK" Nagayoshi, 2020 MA Teacher of the Year, Panorama Education
  • Claudia Rinaldi, Chair, Lasell University
  • Jalene Tamerat, Associate Director of Community Engaged Teaching and Research. Northeastern University
  • Ron Walker, Executive Director, Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color

Year 1 Results

Key takeaways from year 1 of this groundbreaking research include:

  • Teachers' effects on test- and non-test student outcomes (e.g., student absences, suspensions, grade progression) both play important and explanatory roles for long-run student outcomes, including whether and where a student enrolls in college

  • Teachers whose students report positive feelings about their school climate also contribute more to student test scores and to an aggregate of non-test student outcomes

  • Teachers identified by students of color as contributing to better school climate have outsize effects on learning gains for these students

  • Differences in teachers' climate effects across racial/ethnic groups are largest on topics aligned with cultural competency, school participation, and comfort with faculty

  • Black students assigned to Black teachers report better school climate than Black students assigned to other teachers.

These findings are already re-shaping our understanding of teacher quality and informing key policy initiatives at the Department, including revisions to teacher evaluation rubrics and updates to preparation program approval criteria. As we enter year 2 of this research, we will shift gears to look at various aspects of a teacher's preparation that are (or are not) preparing teachers to be effective in improving?outcomes for students of color.

To read more about year 1 findings, you can download the first two working papers and focus group findings here:

Year 2 Results

Year 3 Results

For more information about the advisory board members, view their short biographies .

Last Updated: January 24, 2024

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