Improving Teacher Quality in Utah

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Teacher quality was rated by voters as a top concern about education in the 2008 Utah Priorities Survey. This brief explains why teacher quality improvement is such an important issue, how it can be measured, some strategies attempted around the nation for improving teacher quality, and a review of research showing which tactics are most likely or unlikely to work.

The brief concludes that there is some consensus that teaching experience (up to 5 years), subject matter mastery for secondary subjects (particularly science and math), academic ability (teacher scores on achievement tests, quality of undergraduate institution), and well-designed professional development positively impact teacher quality. Surprisingly, there is little evidence that teaching experience beyond five years and graduate courses, the two determinants of teacher salary schedules, affect student achievement.


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