This study examines the benefit of having high quality teachers in schools to positively affect their students’ performance as well as influence the performance of their teacher colleagues’ students. The study found that when high quality teachers are in a school that there are “peer spillover” effects. This means that teachers may be motivated change their amount of effort and teaching practices when they observe and/or are aware of what a highly effective teacher is doing. This peer learning is a positive influence in increasing teacher effectiveness over time. Indeed teachers perform better when their colleagues have a high level of professional excellence. In particular, new to the profession teachers benefit more from working with high quality teachers as they generally are receptive to feedback about their teaching performance.
An analysis of 11 years (1995 to 2006) of testing data on 3-5 graders in North Carolina was used. The researchers measured teacher quality using teaching experiences, license exam score, and a calculated a “value-added” score using data from teachers’ previous year’s students standardized test results in reading and mathematics. As expected students of teachers with less teaching experience and lower licensing exam scores performed more poorly than their peers who had more experienced teachers with higher exam scores. All the teachers had North Carolina issued regular licenses.
Want to read the study?
Jackson, C. K., & Bruegmann, E. (2009). Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers. NBER Working Paper Series. Retrieved September 8, 2009 from www.nber.org/papers/w15202