GABRIEL SAHLGREN SAYS QUALIFICATIONS DONT NECESSARILY MEAN BETTER PERFORMANCE AS A TEACHER

 

No evidence he says that teachers with specific qualifications perform better than those without

Look at the research he says

Comment

Gabriel Sahlgren,the  head of research at the Centre for Market Research in Education  in his contribution to the Qualified Teacher debate (Telegraph 22 October) says that  despite ‘decades of research we have little understanding of what makes educators effective. Observable characteristics, including teacher qualifications, generally have no or very small effects. This is a remarkably consistent finding in most rigorous studies worldwide. If there’s anything research in the economics of education has disproved, it’s the theory that teachers with specific qualifications perform better than those without. Most people might also find this intuitive since practically everybody has probably experienced good unqualified teachers and bad qualified ones (and vice versa).’

He continues ‘Should anybody be able to become a teacher then? Not necessarily. There is some evidence that teacher subject knowledge impacts performance positively. But there are many ways to gain subject knowledge, which is probably best determined by diagnostic assessments rather than via crude measures such as degree qualifications. Indeed, an English study from 2012 found no impact at all of degree qualifications on pupil achievement. At the same time, the impact of subject knowledge should not be exaggerated. Most of the variance in teacher effectiveness remains unexplained. For this reason, the diagnostic assessments should only be used to weed out the worst apples.’

He concludes that ‘Forcing all academies and free schools to hire educators with officially approved teacher qualifications is therefore a nonsensical policy, at least if we’re interested in increasing pupil performance’.

 

Provocative? Counterintuitive? Yes to both. Will Sahlgren be getting a Christmas card from union leaders? I think not. Time to look back at some of the research, maybe.

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