The Quest for Teacher Quality

Matthew Evans

There has been an increasing tendency in schools in England to hold teachers to account for the outcomes achieved by their classes. This has become the predominant means by which schools attempt to improve examination results. The thinking seems to be “We want to improve results. Results are dependent on the quality of teaching. We need to hold teachers to account for improving their teaching (i.e. results)”.

There are many flaws in this logic, including making ‘results’ the goal rather than ‘quality education’, and confusing ‘better teaching’ with ‘better exam results’.

There is also an incorrect assumption, which is that exam results are largely a consequence of the quality of teaching provided by an individual teacher. This assumption ignores the situational factors which can affect performance.

In a paper by Mary M. Kennedy titled ‘Attribution Error and the Quest for Teacher Quality’, the tendency to underestimate situational factors is given…

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