Recent policies intended to improve teacher quality have focused on the preparation that teachers receive before entering the classroom. But do teachers from different preparation programs differ substantially in their impacts? Can outcomes like student test performance reliably identify more or less effective teacher-preparation programs?

To address these questions, Paul T. von Hippel and Laura Bellows re-analyzed prior evaluations of teacher-preparation programs from six locations. They found negligible differences in teacher quality between programs, amounting to no more than 3 percent of the average test-score gap between students from low-income families and their more affluent peers. The further found that, with rare exceptions, student test scores cannot be used to say whether a given program’s teachers are significantly better or worse than average. If policymakers want to hold preparation programs accountable for the quality of their graduates, there may be better ways to do it. To learn more about rating teacher-preparation programs, read the full article on

—Education Next

Last updated May 21, 2018