Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Reports Outline Solutions to Improve Teacher Effectiveness
Press Release

RELEASE: New Reports Outline Solutions to Improve Teacher Effectiveness

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress released a new report finding that the majority of investments in teacher professional development go into ineffective models. University of Virginia researcher and author of the report, Robert C. Pianta, concluded that the tools to help teachers strengthen their practice are woefully inadequate and that the nation needs more evidence-supported approaches to professional development.

The report demonstrates why the time-honored practice of one-day teacher workshops is not effective, and that piling up professional-development course credits and advanced degrees has virtually no impact on student achievement. As an alternative, the report features a promising approach to professional development that can close not only the evidence gap but the achievement gap as well. This web-based, scalable approach uses a standardized method of online, individualized coaching and a library of highly focused video clips showing effective teachers in action. These resources are tightly coupled with a standardized measure for observing teacher practice in the classroom.

“Despite major investments in professional development from federal, state, and local sources, research proves that most professional development in current use is ineffective,” said Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “Developing new, evidence-based teacher-performance systems, such as the one highlighted in this report, is a critical factor in helping our students achieve academic success.”

The Pianta report was released at an event to discuss approaches to improving teaching effectiveness and whether the tools exist to do the job well.

At the event, the Center for American Progress also released a second paper, authored by John H. Tyler, which focuses on the challenges of designing evaluation systems for high school teachers. The report describes emerging solutions, including:

  • Developing new and enhancing existing assessments that test high school teacher’s content-based pedagogical knowledge.
  • Exploring, developing, and testing the increased use of technology such as classroom video recording as a means for generating efficiency and productivity gains in practice-based evaluation.
  • Conducting more research on the properties and use of Student Learning Objectives as a measure of effective teaching based on student performance.
  • Continuing investigations into how value-added measures can be effectively used at the high school level.
  • Finding the best ways to incorporate all available information from both practice-based measures and student-performance data into the ultimate evaluation of teachers.

Read the reports:

To speak with the CAP experts on this topic, contact Katie Peters at [email protected] or 202.741.6285.