MIT Teaching Systems Lab

People & Projects Working at MIT TSL with

Panel: Panel 3

Panel 3: If teachers matter most, what about teachers matters?: Exploring the role of non-instructional predictors of math teacher instructional outcomes
To the practitioner or the parent, it may not come as a surprise that decades of rigorous research in economics point to teacher quality as the single largest predictor of student achievement gains above other school characteristics, particularly for students of color. However, in breaking down “teacher quality” there are some outstanding puzzles. For instance, years of preparation, teacher degrees and advanced course work are relatively weak predictors of math teacher effectiveness. The field stands to learn much about what non-instructional factors predict math teacher effectiveness; little is known about the relative importance of teacher beliefs about their own abilities, teacher expectations for students, teacher agency, teacher satisfaction, and retention, etc. This panel focuses on shaping a research agenda that would help the field better understand malleable, non-instructional predictors of math teacher learning. Panelists will focus on reviewing what is known, unknown, how to learn more, and implications for targeting new kinds of professional learning.