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Teachers Are the Key

by KYW’s Dr. Marciene Mattleman

The Los Angeles Times has obtained student scores from math and English tests from the LA Unified School District and has used that information to estimate the effectiveness of teachers — rating them on students’ progress on standardized tests from year to year, measuring each student against his or her own record.

There was a gap of 17 points in English and 25 points in math between achievement where teachers were at the top 10% and bottom 10% of effectiveness. Over a seven year period, findings showed that highly effective teachers have “propelled” below-grade level students to advance in a single year.

Despite the challenges of poverty or limited English usage, students of effective teachers consistently made substantial gains. More than 8,000 students had a poorest-performing math or English instructor at least twice in a row. The weakest teachers were not grouped in the poorest areas nor were the best teachers necessarily from more affluent areas.

The L.A. Times is planning to publish the value-added rankings of 6,000 teachers next month with the endorsement of Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

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