Teacher Quality Conference Features Leading Scholars on May 1

Evidence shows that student achievement depends at least in part on the quality of teachers, but what aspects of quality matter most? And what policies are most cost-effective for promoting teacher quality? On May 1 at Northwestern University's Norris Center, a conference on the topic of "Teacher Quality: Broadening and Deepening the Debate" will examine the research on teacher quality and explore promising new lines of inquiry. The conference, which will bring together scholars and researchers from across the nation, is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Panel discussions, chaired by leading scholars, will address four important dimensions of teacher quality: teacher effects, teaching effects, teacher labor markets and policy options.

Teacher effects
"Teacher Effects: What Do We Know What Do We Need to Learn?" will focus on evidence related to how much teachers affect student achievement and indicators of teacher quality related to student achievement. Helen Ladd, professor of Public Policy Studies and Economics at Duke University, will give a presentation on teacher effects, followed by response from a panel led by Northwestern professor of statistics and social policy Larry Hedges.
Teaching effects
Robert Pianta
, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, will give a presentation on "Looking Inside Classrooms: What Do We Know about Quality Teaching?" Afterward, Deborah Ball, dean of the school of education at the University of Michigan, will lead a panel on this topic to review evidence about quality teaching, specifically which aspects of classroom teaching are linked to student achievement.
Teacher labor markets
Susanna Loeb, a professor of education at Stanford University who specializes in the economics of education, will give a presentation on "Teacher Labor Markets." A panel, led by University of Chicago professor of economics Derek Neal, will review what is known about teacher labor markets and how they affect the quality of the teachers students have.

Policy options
Tom Kane, professor of education and economics at Harvard University, will present "A Policy Proposal to Address the Quality Challenge: Identifying Effective Teachers Using On the Job Performance." A panel, led by Stanford University professor of education and public policy Henry Braun, will center on Kane's proposal to base teacher hiring and firing on value-added assessments of teacher quality.

The conference, which begins at 8:45 a.m., will conclude with remarks by Thomas Cook, professor of sociology, psychology and education and social policy at Northwestern University, at 4 p.m. Cook is a member of the Independent Review Panel for Title 1, the vehicle funding the No Child Left Behind legislation.

The 80 conference attendees will be faculty and fellows affiliated with the IES predoctoral training programs in education sciences at the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin and Northwestern. The conference is designed for attendees to have the opportunity to engage presenters and discussants in a dialogue about their presentations.

At Northwestern, the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences, which began in 2004, is a doctoral training program composed of 24 fellows from diverse disciplines including economics, human development, learning sciences, psychology, sociology and statistics. The goal of the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences, is to provide doctoral students with rigorous training for researching critical issues in education.

View more information and schedule.
By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 8/14/09