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Retaining Teacher Talent

Report 3. Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers’ Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas

How Can We Learn What More Effective Teachers Think Continued

Obviously, there are limitations to this approach. There is no way to determine whether self-perceived effective teachers are, in fact, more effective than their colleagues (whether defined by relative or absolute test scores, their ability to engage their students in challenging work, how their principals or other administrators might rate them, or any other measure). In addition, one teacher’s “a lot” might be another teacher’s “somewhat,” as many teachers may compare their test score increases to teachers in their immediate environment rather than all teachers. Nevertheless, research has shown that teachers who feel more efficacious, especially if they work with similarly efficacious colleagues, achieve higher student learning results (Armor et al., 1976; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Goddard, Hoy, & Hoy, 2000). Moreover, most administrators would likely want to work with teachers who believe that all students can learn, are confident professionals, and believe that they can have an impact on student learning (Farkas, Johnson, & Foleno, 2000).

Table 2 displays some of the demographics of self-perceived effective teachers versus all other teachers. They are equitably distributed among experience levels, generational cohort, and school poverty levels; however, they tend to be female and concentrated in elementary schools (perhaps because these two factors are highly correlated).

INSERT TABLE 2 TEACHER DEMOGRAPHICS

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