Linda Darling Hammond


Deborah Loewenberg Ball

Prepared for the National Education Goals Panel

June, 1997

Teaching for High Standards:

What Policymakers Need to Know and Be Able to Do

The recent emphasis on raising standards has drawn Americans' attention to what makes a difference for student learning. The September, 1996 report of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (the Commission), What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future, followed shortly by Pursuing Excellence, the report of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), sharpened this discussion by pointing to the close relationship between students' achievement and the knowledge, skills, and practices of their teachers. According to these reports, what teachers know and can do is crucial to what students learn. Three policy implications follow:

1. The recruitment and retention of good teachers is key to the improvement of our schools.

2. A strong teaching force depends on serious attention to the preparation and ongoing learning of teachers.

3. School reform cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions -- including the curriculum contexts -- in which teachers can teach well.

In this paper, we discuss the relationship between teachers' knowledge and students' performace; summarize what research suggests about the kinds of teacher education and professional development needed to help teachers learn to teach to high standards; and describe what states are doing to provide these opportunities for teacher learning, and with what effects.

The Relationship between Teacher Knowledge and Student Achievement

For many decades the United States education system has tried to improve student achievement by tinkering with various levers in the great machinery of schooling: New management schemes, curriculum packages, testing policies, centralization initiatives, decentralization initiatives, and a wide array of regulations and special programs have been tried, all with the same effect. Reforms, we have learned over and over again, are rendered effective or ineffective by the knowledge, skills, and commitments of those in schools. Without know-how and buy-in, innovations do not succeed. Neither can they succeed without appropriate supports, including such resources as materials, time, and opportunities to learn.

Furthermore, studies discover again and again that teacher expertise is the most important factor in determining student achievement, followed by the smaller but consistently positive influences of small schools and small class sizes. That is, teachers who know alot about teaching and learning and who work in environments that allow them to know students well are the critical elements of successful learning.

How does teachers' expertise affect student learning? Teacher expertise -- or what teachers know and can do -- affects all the core tasks of teaching. For example, what teachers understand, both about content and students, shapes how judiciously they select from texts and other materials and how effectively they present material in class. Their skill in assessing their students' progress depends also on how deeply they themselves know the content, and how well they can understand and interpret students' talk and written work. Nothing can fully compensate for the weakness of a teacher who lacks the knowledge and skill needed to help students master the curriculum.

Measures of teachers' education, certification, knowledge, and experience have most often been the primary sources of large scale data on teacher expertise.1 In an analysis of the most extensive data base since the Coleman study, Ronald Ferguson found that teachers' expertise (as measured by teacher education, scores on a licensing examination, and experience) accounted for far more variation in students' achievement than any other factor (about 40% of the total), and that every additional dollar spent on more highly qualified teachers netted greater increases in student achievement than did any other use of school resources.2 The effects were so strong, and the variations in teacher expertise were so great, that the large disparities in achievement between black and white students were almost entirely accounted for by differences in the qualifications of their teachers. An additional contribution to student achievement was made by small schools and lower pupil-teacher ratios. In combination, well-prepared teachers working in personalized environments contributed as much to student outcomes as socioeconomic factors. (See figure 1.)

Ferguson's findings closely mirror those of a recent review of 60 studies by Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine,3 which found that teacher education, ability, and experience, along with small schools and lower teacher-pupil ratios, are associated with significant increases in student achievement. In their estimate of the achievement gains associated with various uses of funds, additional spending on teacher education outweighed other variables as the most productive investment for schools.
(See figure 2.)

Many other studies have come to similar conclusions. For example, a study of high- and low-achieving schools in New York City with similar student populations found that differences in teacher qualifications accounted for more than 90% of the variation in student achievement in reading and mathematics at all grade levels tested.4 A Tennessee

Figure 1

Average Proportion of Variance in

Student Test Scores (Grades 1-7)

Explained By:

Developed from data presented by Ronald F. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence of How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (Summer 1991): 465-98

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Figure 2

Size of Increase in Student Achievement for

Every $500 Spent on:

*Achievement gains were calculated as standrd deviation units on a range of achievement tests used in the 60 studies reviewed.
Greenwald, R., L.V. Hedges, & R.D. Laine (1996). The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement. Review of Educational Research 66(3), pp. 361-396.

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Figure 3

Cumulative Effects of Teacher Sequence

on Fifth Grade Math Scores

For Two Metropolitan Systems

Teacher Sequence

System: A (Blue)   B (Hatched)

1 Denotes the corresponding percentile (CTB/McGraw-Hill, 1990, pp. 104-115).

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study of the effects of teachers on student learning found that elementary school students who are assigned to ineffective teachers for three years in a row score fifty percentile points lower on achievement tests than those assigned to the most effective teachers over the same period of time.5 (See figure 3.)

What matters for teacher effectiveness? Another body of research confirms that teacher knowledge of subject matter, student learning and development, and teaching methods are all important elements of teacher effectiveness. Reviews of several hundred studies contradict the longstanding myths that "anyone can teach" and that "teachers are born and not made." Teacher education, as it turns out, matters a great deal. In fields ranging from mathematics and science to early childhood, elementary, vocational, and gifted education, teachers who are fully prepared and certified in both their discipline and in education are more highly rated and are more successful with students than are teachers without preparation, and those with greater training are found to be more effective than those with less.6

In science, a review of 65 studies found that teachers' effectiveness depends on the amount and kind of teacher education and disciplinary training they have had and on the professional development opportunities they experience later in the career.7 And in mathematics, another review found that the extent of teachers' preparation in mathematics methods, curriculum, and teaching is as important in predicting effectiveness as is preparation in mathematics itself.8 Finally, students who study with fully certified mathematics teachers experience significantly greater gains in achievement than those who are taught by unlicensed or out-of-field teachers.9

The National Assessment of Educational Progress has documented that the qualifications of students' teachers are also among the correlates of reading achievement: Students of fully certified teachers and of teachers with higher levels of education do better. Furthermore, these teachers are more likely to have had professional coursework that allows them to use the literature-based and writing-based approaches to teaching reading and writing that stimulate the higher level performance skills associated with stronger achievement (figure 4.)

Teachers who have spent more time studying teaching are more effective overall, and strikingly so for developing higher­order thinking skills and for meeting the needs of diverse students.10 Not only does teacher education matter, but more teacher education appears to be better than less. As we describe below, recent studies of redesigned teacher education programs -- those that offer a five- or six-year program including an extended internship -- find their graduates to be more successful and more likely to enter and remain in teaching than graduates of traditional undergraduate programs.11

Figure 4

Correlates of Reading Achievement, Grade 4

National Assessment of Education Progress, 1992

Average Proficiency Scores (Percent of Students)
Level of Certification
None, provisional or emergency (7%)
Regular, not highest level (37%)
Highest level (57%)
Level of Education
Bachelor's (54%)
Master's (45%)
Coursework in literature-based instruction
No coursework (16%)
Yes coursework (84%)
Coursework in whole language approaches
No coursework (20%)
Yes coursework (80%)
Coursework in phonics
Yes coursework (44%)
Yes coursework (56%)
Coursework in study strategies
No coursework (33%)
Yes coursework (67%)
Coursework in motivational strategies
No coursework (14%)
yes coursework (86%)
Ability Grouping
Students grouped by ability (34%)
Students not grouped by ability (66%)
Types of Materials
Primarily basal readers (33%)
Basal and trade books (51%)
Primarily trade books (13%)
Instructional Approaches
Structured Subskills (5%)
Literature-based (31%)
Integrative language (43%)
Instructional Emphasis on Integrating Reading and Writing
Little/ no emphasis (11%)
Moderate emphasis (42%)
Heavy emphasis (55%)
Emphasis on Literature-based reading
Little/no emphasis (11%)
Moderate emphasis (38%)
Heavy emphasis (50%)
Amount of time devoted to decoding skills
Almost all the time (15%)
Some of the time (69%)
Rarely (15%)
Frequency with which students read aloud
Almost every day (47%)
At least weekly (45%)
Less than wekly (8%)
Amount of time devoted to oral reading
Almost all the time (24%)
Some of the time (70%)
Rarely/never (7%)
Frequency with which students read silently
Less than weekly (2%)
At least wekly (23%)
Almost every day (75%)
Amount of time devoted to comprehension and interpretation
Rarely/never (0%)
Some of the time (30%)
Almost all of the time (70%)
Frequency of use of reading workbooks and worksheets
Almost every day (31%)
At least once a week (48%)
Less than weekly (22%)
Frequency of group activities or projects about what students read
Less than weekly (76%)
At least once a week (21%)
Almost every day (3%)
Frequency with which students write about what they have read
Less than weekly (26%)
At least once a week (49%)
Almost every day (25%)
Frequency with which teachers use reading kits to teach reading
At least once a week (22%)
At least once a month (20%)
Never or rarely (58%)
Frequency with which computer software is used to teach reading
At least once a week (25%)
At least once a month (23%)
Never or rarely (52%)
Frequency with which a variety of books are used to teach reading
Less than weekly (35%)
At least once a week (22%)
Almost every day (43%)
Frequency with which teahcers send or take clas to library
Never or rarely (5%)
At least once a month (9%)
At least once a week (85%)
Use of multiple choice tests to assess students in reading
At least once a week (14%)
At least once a month (49%)
Less than monthly
Use of short-answer tests to assess students in reading
At least once a week (34%)
At least once a month (44%)
Less than monthly (22%)
Students write paragraphs about what they have read to assess their reading
Less than monthly (14%)
At least once a month (39%)
At least once a week (46%)
Use of individual or group projects or presentations are used to assess reading
Less than monthly (34%)
At least once a month (54%)
At least once a week (12%)
Source: 1992 NAEP Trial State Assessment
L. Darling-Hammond, National Commission on Teaching and America's Future

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Problems in the Preparation of U.S. Teachers

Despite the critical importance of teacher knowledge, the United States offers far fewer supports for teacher learning than do industrialized countries that rank higher on educational outcome measures. In addition, large numbers of U.S. teachers are not adequately prepared for their work. For example, the National Commission on Teaching found that:

These problems in the preparation and licensing of teachers are reflected in the performance of U.S. students on international assessments. For example, the U.S. has experienced chronic shortages of mathematics and physical science teachers for more than 40 years, and has typically met these problems by lowering standards rather than by increasing the incentives to teach. As noted above, more than 30% of U.S. mathematics teachers were teaching out-of-field in 1991, and only 52% of U.S. math teachers had both a license and a major in their field (See figure 5.) If U.S. students are much more likely to have teachers who are unprepared in mathematics, it should be no surprise that U.S. students continue to compare least favorably with their international peers in mathematics, with 8th graders ranking 18th out of 25 countries that met the TIMSS study guidelines (Seefigure 6).

Figure 5

Percentage of Public School

Teachers with a State License and

a Major in the Main Teaching

Assignment field: 1990-91

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Schools and Staffing Survey, 1990-91, Published in Marilyn M. McMillen, Sharon A. Bobbit, and Hilda F. Lynch, Teacher Training, Certification, and Asignment in Public Schools: 1990-91, (Paper presented at annual meeting of the American educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 1994)

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U.S. students tend to do better in the sciences than in mathematics, ranking 12th overall out of 25 countries that met the TIMSS guidelines. In general science courses, only 17% of all teachers are out-of-field. But 56% of U.S. high school students who take a physical science course are taught by out-of-field teachers because shortages of physical science teachers are much more severe than they are in other science fields. Thus, it should not be surprising that U.S. students scored well below average in physics (ranking 17th out of 25 countries) as compared to their international peers.

By contrast, U.S. students have compared favorably with students in other countries in reading, ranking at or above the median in 4th and 8th grades. This is partly due to the fact that there have been large investments in teachers' preparation to teach reading at the elementary level -- for both reading specialists and "regular" classroom teachers -- and there is very little hiring of unqualified teachers in these fields. Most districts and schools provide substantial expert support in reading for both teachers and students. In contrast, despite the fact that so many teachers lack the requisite expertise in mathematics, most districts allocate dramatically fewer resources to similar support in mathematics.16

As we describe later, variations in the qualifications of teachers across states -- and state investments in teacher quality -- are also related to how well students perform on national assessments in these fields.

International Comparisons of Teacher Development

Despite the importance of teacher expertise, when compared to many other countries that might be thought of as peers or competitors, the U.S. invests far less in the preservice and inservice preparation of teachers and allows much greater variability in teachers' access to knowledge. Many European and Asian countries support high-quality teaching by:

Teaching and teacher education abroad. The combination of these strategies creates systematic supports for teaching throughout the career, beginning with its foundations in preservice education. In Germany, for example, prospective teachers earn the equivalent of academic majors in two disciplines and then pursue two to three more years of rigorous teacher preparation which combines pedagogical seminars with classroom observations and intensively supervised practice teaching. Preparation in Luxembourg is a seven-year process including graduate level professional training. In France, candidates pursue a five-year program of undergraduate studies and teacher education leading up to an intensively supervised year-long internship in schools much like the newly-launched (but not yet widespread) professional development schools in the U.S. In these countries, teachers are almost never hired without full preparation, a practice enabled by subsidies that underwrite teacher preparation and salaries comparable to those in other professions. Once they reach the classroom, special supports are typically available for beginning teachers and substantial time exists for ongoing professional learning.

Japan and Chinese Taipei are also moving toward extended programs of teacher preparation, including greater study of teaching and learning and an intensive internship. In Japan, for example, after graduating from a teacher education program and passing a highly competitive teacher appointment examination, beginning teachers work with a master teacher who observes them weekly. Their reduced load allows them to observe the classes of other teachers, participate in seminars and training sessions, and undertake 60 days of in-school professional development on topics such as classroom management, computer use, teaching strategies, and counseling methods.

Inservice professional development opportunities are also extensive. In many of these countries, teachers spend between 15 and 20 hours per week with students and the remaining time working with colleagues on joint planning and curriculum development, visiting parents, counseling students, and pursuing research, study groups, and other learning activities. Teachers regularly visit other schools, attend seminars provided by teachers, conduct group research projects, participate in ongoing teacher-led study groups in various subject areas, and offer demonstration lessons to one another.

These activities are often organized around the state or national curriculum framework, which is typically a lean instrument that outlines a relatively small number of major concepts and ideas to be treated, leaving to teachers the job of figuring out a range of strategies for doing so in the context of their own school and student body. In China, for example, the common structure provided by the curriculum guide directly supports a kind of professional discourse rarely seen in the U.S. Teachers compare notes about particular lessons and problems, discuss how their students respond to specific tasks, conduct demonstration lessons for one another, and discuss plans together.18

It is also worth noting here that one of the findings of the TIMSS studies was that U.S. texts and curriculum guidelines require mathematics and science teachers to cover far more topics superficially, and therefore less successfully, than do curriculum guides in other countries, which emphasize in-depth learning about a smaller range of topics each year. Thus, teaching is both more thoughtfully guided and more consciously adapted to students' learning needs in many other countries whose students achieve at high levels.19

Teacher development in the U.S. By contrast, the United States lacks a professional development system for teachers. To begin with, teachers generally must pay for their own preparation and professional development, despite the fact that they earn 25 to 20% less than other professionals with similar levels of education. These fiscal barriers to preparation and entry produce both chronic shortages of qualified teachers in some fields and dramatically uneven levels of preparation across the teaching force.

Once in the classroom, U.S. teachers have only 3 to 5 hours a week in which to prepare their lessons, usually in isolation from their colleagues. Most have no time to work with or observe other teachers; they experience occasional hit-and-run workshops that are usually unconnected to their work and immediate problems of practice. This occurs despite the fact that there is in this country an enormous staff development industry. Districts, counties, and private entrepreneurs sponsor workshops, institutes, and after-school dinner meetings to develop, train, refresh, update, and inservice teachers.20 Administrators form committees, bring in experts, adopt new textbook series. Teachers read Teaching Mathematics, Instructor, Learning, and American Educator. They purchase commercial black-line masters for activities and they collect books. They enroll in master's program courses. However, much of such professional education is superficial, unconnected to a coherent vision of teaching or a set of curricular goals, and disjointed across localities and the courses of teachers' careers. Further, access to learning opportunities varies widely across schools and districts, depending on the vastly uneven level of resources available for education and the quite different views of school boards about whether and how to spend it on learning for teachers.

In addition, most teachers in the U.S. have had a relatively thin program of preservice education. Most undertake an undergraduate program of teacher education that necessarily makes trade-offs between disciplinary preparation and pedagogical preparation (generally taught in unconnected courses) and that leaves only a short time for student teaching at the end of a brief training sequence. While some entering teachers are now graduating from redesigned programs that provide more integrated and extended study of content and teaching, other entrants -- generally assigned to teach in poor urban and rural schools -- receive no preparation for teaching at all. Furthermore, many new teachers are hired into the most disadvantaged schools where they are given the most challenging students and most difficult teaching assignments without mentoring or support. For all these reasons, about 30% of entrants to teaching leave within the first several years. In short, many U.S. teachers enter the profession with inadequate preparation, and few have many opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills over the course of their careers.

It would be an oxymoron to call the U.S. teacher education enterprise a "system." Its fragmentation and variability account for many of the problems we described above. There are at least three major sources of variability:

1. Variability in standards for candidates. There is extremely wide variation in the standards to which entering teachers are held. Licensing standards are radically different from state to state. Some high-standards states require a bachelor's degree in the subject to be taught plus intensive preparation for teaching including at least 15 weeks of student teaching and preparation for working with special needs students. Some low-standards states require only a handful of education courses and a few weeks of student teaching, little or no preparation in child development or learning theory, and less than a minor in the field to be taught. Forty states allow teachers to be hired on temporary or emergency licenses without having had any preparation or having met any standards at all. Similarly, some states require serious performance examinations of teaching knowledge and skill, whereas others require only basic skills tests. Some enforce their standards stringently and refuse to hire unqualified teachers, whereas others allow districts to hire large numbers of unqualified and underprepared candidates, even when qualified candidates are available.

2. Variability in standards for programs. The regulation of teacher education institutions is equally variable. Unlike other professions, most states do not require education schools to be professionally accredited, and many state procedures for approving programs are inadequate to ensure quality. With fewer than half of colleges having met national professional standards, the quality of programs in the more than 1300 institutions that now prepare teachers ranges from excellent to very poor. While a growing number of teachers are prepared in rigorous five or six-year programs including intensive internships, many are still prepared in underfunded four-year programs that are treated as "cash cows" by their universities, producing greater revenues for the education of future businessmen, lawyers, and accountants than they spend on the education of the future teachers they serve. Because states have set up their own approval systems in lieu of professional accreditation, and because most states approve all programs regardless of their quality, there is little leverage on for the improvement of teacher education programs.

3. Variability in teacher education curriculum and faculty. Prospective teachers take courses in the arts and sciences, in schools of education, and spend time in schools. What they study and who teaches it varies widely. Unlike other professions where the professional curriculum has a coherence in substance and pedagogy, the curriculum of teacher education is distributed widely, rarely with any effort at coordination. Many of those who teach teachers do not think of themselves as "teacher educators" -- faculty in English or mathematics, for example, and most have little preparation for the task of educating teachers. They teach their courses as they would to any college student, leaving it to the prospective teachers to integrate subject matter and pedagogical studies. Many faculty in schools of education do not think of themselves as teacher educators, either. Instead, they are specialists in subjects like sociology, psychology, or reading.21

The quality of recently developed alternative certification programs is equally variable: Some are year-long postbaccalaureate models that have integrated theory and skills development more productively than some traditional programs. By linking key coursework to intensively supervised internships, they provide a high-quality preparation to mid-career recruits who want to enter teaching. Others, however, offer only a few weeks of training that ignores such fundamentals as learning theory, child development, and content pedagogy, and places recruits in classrooms without supervised practice. Finally, few states require or fund the kinds of internships provided for new entrants in other professions such as architecture, psychology, nursing, medicine, or engineering. Structured induction programs are still rare in teaching, even though they have proven to be quite effective where they exist.

How are other countries able to support teaching more effectively? The more professional conception of teaching that exists in the European and Asian countries we mentioned earlier is made possible partly by the setting of standards for teaching by ministries of education or professional bodies established for this purpose. Examinations are set by these bodies as well. Schools of education are heavily subsidized by governments as is the training of candidates, so that the knowledge of teachers is not a function of individual ability-to-pay or candidates' preferences about how much they would like to study. Schools of education must meet standards regarding what is to be taught and learned.

Substantial ongoing professional development is made possible by the fact that teachers are the central investment of schools. Rather than create a large bureaucracy to design, monitor, inspect, and augment the work of teachers, funds are spent to hire a greater number of well-paid, well-educated teachers who make most school decisions and support each other in collegial learning. Consequently, classroom teachers comprise 60% to 80% of education employees in these other countries, as compared to only 43% in the U.S., where the number of administrative and nonteaching staff has more than doubled over the last 30 years. (See figures 7and 8.) The logic of these other systems is that the greater preparation and inservice support teachers receive helps assure that they can make good decisions about curriculum, teaching, and assessment without legions of supervisors and inspectors to prescribe their work.

Teaching in these other countries is also less bureaucratically organized than it is in the U.S. It is not uncommon, for teachers in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark to serve as counselors, teach multiple subjects, and teach the same students for multiple years, so that they come to know their students well both academically and personally. Where similar arrangements for personalizing teacher-student relationships have been tried in the U.S., research shows that student achievement is significantly higher, as a consequence of teachers' greater knowledge of students' learning needs.22 By hiring more teachers who are better-prepared and better-supported, and by organizing

Figure 7

Comparisons of Educational Staff By Function

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators (Paris: OECD, 1995), table p31, pp. 176-177.

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Figure 8

Type of Staff Employed by Public Schools

NOTE: Plotted points in each chart includes school years ending: 1950, 1960, 1970, 1981, 1985-1991, 1993.
Source: U.S> Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Statistics of State School Systems, Commom Core of Data, 1992, and other unpublished estimates. Published in The Condition of Education 1993 (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, 1993), pp. 148,149.

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schools around their work with students, the U.S. could also reduce the bureaucratic superstructures that currently drain resources from classrooms where they could make a difference.

Recommendations of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future

The National Commission on Teaching emphasized the critical importance that well-prepared teachers and well-designed schools make for the achievement of higher standards. The Commission urged that standard-setting continue "so that high-quality, professionally informed curriculum guidance is widely available to help teachers organize their teaching and build on the work of their predecessors." "The essential companion to this effort," the Commission noted, "is investment in teacher and school capacities," and it offered a set of interlocking recommendations to ensure a systemic approach to developing high-quality teaching. They include:

I. Standards for teachers linked to standards for students. Clearly, if students are to achieve high standards, we can expect no less from their teachers and other educators. The first priority is reaching agreement on what teachers should know and be able to do in order to help students succeed at meeting the new standards. This task has recently been undertaken by three professional bodies that set standards for teacher education (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), beginning teacher licensing (the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium), and the advanced certification of accomplished veteran teachers (the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards). Their combined efforts to set standards for teaching linked to new student standards outline a coherent continuum of teacher development throughout the career. To advance these standards, the Commission recommends that states:

II. Reinvent teacher preparation and professional development.23 For teachers to have continuous access to the latest knowledge about teaching and learning, the Commission recommends that states, schools, and colleges:

III. Overhaul teacher recruitment, and put qualified teachers in every classroom. The Commission urged states and districts to address teacher recruitment problems by:

IV. Encourage and reward knowledge and skill. Schools have few ways of encouraging outstanding teaching or rewarding increases in knowledge and skill. Uncertified entrants are paid at the same levels as those who enter with highly developed skills. Novices take on exactly the same kind of work as 30-year veterans. Mediocre teachers receive the same rewards as outstanding ones. Teachers must leave the classroom to get promoted. To address these issues, the Commission recommends that states and districts:

V. Create schools that are organized for student and teacher success. In order to be able to direct their energies around a common purpose, schools need to adopt shared standards for student learning that become the basis for common efforts of teachers, parents, and the community. Then, schools must be freed of the tyrannies of time and tradition to permit more powerful student and teacher learning. This includes restructuring time and staffing so that teachers have regular time to work with one another and with groups of students; rethinking schedules so that students and teachers have more extended time together over the course of the day, week, and years; and reducing barriers to the involvement of parents so that families and schools can work together. To accomplish this the Commission recommends that state and local boards work to:

Professional Development that Makes a Difference

What do we know about teacher learning that might help inform the improvement of professional development? Recent years have seen new attention to problems of teacher education and teacher learning, yielding an increasing knowledge base useful for the design of better opportunities for teachers' ongoing learning. Five premises are especially pertinent to the improvement of teachers' opportunities to learn:

1. What teachers bring to learning to teach -- their prior beliefs and experiences -- affects what they learn. Increasingly, teachers' own histories -- personal and professional -- are thought to play an important role in what they learn from professional development experiences.

2. Learning to teach to the new standards takes time and is not easy. Changes do not happen overnight, nor simply by deciding to teach differently. There is as much to unlearn as there is to learn, and what there is to learn is complex. Teachers face making changes in deeply-held notions about learning and knowledge, reconsidering their assumptions about students, and developing new ways of teaching, as well as of assessing their work.

3. Content knowledge is key to learning to teach content so that students understand it. All the techniques in the world will not help a teacher choose the most productive examples for a presentation. Similarly, listening skills are insufficient to help a teacher interpret children's work. In both cases, teachers' effectiveness depends on what teachers understand about the material at hand and about the discipline more broadly.

4. Knowledge of children and their ideas and ways of thinking is crucial to teaching for understanding. Learning more about students, and about how to listen to them is crucial. How to hear what students say is more than a matter of acuity, for it requires seeing the world through another's eyes and perspective, not at all an easy task (especially when those worlds are diverse, sometimes disparate). Knowing how to link students and the curricular goals to which schools are responsible depends on insight into learners -- what interests them, what they bring to learning a particular idea or skill, how they learn.

5. Opportunities for analysis and reflection are central to learning to teach. Teachers need time, space, and encouragement to reflect in ways that facilitate their learning -- by talking with others, by keeping a journal, by engaging in action research.24

Despite the commonplace nature of these five premises, they are not at the foundation of most professional development. A great deal of what teachers encounter does not consider them as learners, is not designed to help them develop over time, does not focus on the content or students whom they teach, and does not offer opportunity for focused analysis and reflection. Moreover, it is most often conducted at a distance from the materials and problems of the work. In order to develop their practice, teachers need experience with the tasks and ways of thinking that are fundamental to the practice. Those experiences must be immediate enough to be compelling and vivid. To learn more than mere imitation or survival, such experiences also must be sufficiently distanced to be open to careful scrutiny, unpacking, reconstruction, and analysis.

It has become popular to talk about teachers as "lifelong learners," and about teaching as something that one learns over time. All teachers accumulate experience. But neither experience nor time alone can improve teaching. To highlight the complexity of "learning from experience," Sarason25pointed to the difference between two 20­year teaching veterans, commenting that one had twenty years of experience while the other had one year of experience twenty times. What is it that distinguishes learning from and improving one's practice from simply having experience?26Teachers need to learn how to operate experimentally in response to unique students and uncertain situations; then they need to be able to use what they learn in those particular cases to inform and improve future teaching. In order to develop their teaching, teachers must see their learning as essential to practice, and must learn how to inquire systematically into practice. Thus, the best way to improve both teaching and teacher learning is to create the capacity for much better learning about teaching as a part of teaching. Professional development would be substantially improved if we were to develop ways to learn and teach about practice in practice.

How can teachers learn methods of inquiry about their work, so as to improve their understanding of learning and teaching? One element of such professional learning is that it is centered in the critical activities of the profession. As in medicine and law, to be "in" practice is not necessarily to be in an operating room or a courtroom. One is "in" a realm of legal practice when one drafts or comments on appellate briefs in a legal library, by considering a variety of briefs and other sources that bear on the matters in question. Centering professional education "in practice" means, first, identifying the central activities of teaching practice, and second, selecting or creating materials that usefully depict that work and could be selected, represented, or modified to create opportunities for novice and experienced practitioners to learn.

The investigation of practice is another key element in a more professional approach to learning. In order to prepare people who are truly able to be learners in and from their practice, professional education must emphasize questions, investigations, and critiques of teaching and learning. The pedagogy of professional education would in considerable part be a pedagogy of investigation27using tools that permit analysis.

Finally, the elements sketched above could not be adequately cultivated without the development of more substantial professional discourse and engagement in communities of practice. Continuing thoughtful discussion among learners and teachers is an essential element of any serious education, because it is the chief vehicle for analysis, criticism, and communication of ideas, practices, and values. Moreover, the discourse of professional education should help to build collegiality among teachers, and create a set of relations rooted in shared intentions and challenges of the work. Such discourse should focus on deliberation about and development of standards for practice and on the improvement of teaching and learning.

Are there examples of current approaches to professional development that reflect these ideas? Below we discuss four current lines of work that hold promise for professional development that can make a difference.

Integrating theory and practice. Traditional beginning teacher education courses and "inservice" workshops for practicing teachers have been organized to help educators acquire the knowledge and skill thought to be crucial to teaching. In courses and workshops, educators learn theories and methods of teaching, and in classroom settings, they practice using what they have been taught. The assumption, held by instructors and learners at the university as well as by teachers, field supervisors, and learners in classrooms, is that knowledge is acquired in coursework and applied in practice.28

This divide between theory and practice, however, has left a critical gap unattended. Student teachers are often in the end most influenced by what they see their cooperating teachers do, or by their own memories from school. The effect of teacher education is often small. Although they collect ideas, learn theories, and develop some strategies, beginning teachers have often reported that their professional preparation was of little use or practicality.29

Over the past decade, however, many schools of education and school districts have begun to change these practices. Stimulated by the efforts of the Holmes Group and the National Network for Educational Renewal, more than 300 schools of education have created programs that extend beyond the confines of the traditional 4-year bachelors degree program, thus allowing more extensive study of the disciplines to be taught along with education coursework that is integrated with more extensive clinical training in schools. Some are one- or two-year graduate programs that serve recent graduates or mid-career recruits. Others are 5-year models that allow an extended program of preparation for prospective teachers who enter teacher education during their undergraduate years. In either case, because the 5th year allows students to devote their energies exclusively to the task of preparing to teach, such programs allow for year-long school-based internships that are woven together with coursework on learning and teaching.

A number of recent studies have found that graduates of extended (typically 5 year) programs are not only more satisfied with their preparation, they are viewed by their colleagues, principals, and cooperating teachers as better prepared, are as effective with students as much more experienced teachers, and are much more likely to enter and stay in teaching than their peers prepared in traditional 4-year programs.30

Many of these programs have joined with local school districts to create professional development schools where novices' clinical preparation can be more purposefully structured. Like teaching hospitals in medicine, these schools aim to provide sites for state-of-the-art practice which are also organized to support the training of new professionals, extend the professional development of veteran teachers, and sponsor collaborative research and inquiry. Programs are jointly planned and taught by university-based and school-based faculty. Cohorts of beginning teachers get a richer, more coherent learning experience when they are organized in teams to study and practice with these faculty and with one another. Senior teachers report that they deepen their knowledge by serving as mentors, adjunct faculty, co-researchers, and teacher leaders. Thus, these schools can help create the rub between theory and practice that teachers need in order to learn, while creating more professional roles for teachers and building knowledge in ways that are more useful for both practice and ongoing theory-building.31

These new programs typically engage prospective teachers in studying research and conducting their own inquiries through cases, action research, and the development of structured portfolios about practice. They envision the professional teacher as one who learns from teaching rather than one who has finished learning how to teach, and the job of teacher education as developing the capacity to inquire sensitively and systematically into the nature of learning and the effects of teaching.

Developing professional discourse around problems of practice. A related avenue worth pursuing in seeking to improve the quality and impact of professional development centers on this inquiry orientation to knowledge. Traditionally, professional development (such as inservice workshops) and professional forums (such as journals and state meetings) assume an orientation that concentrates on answers: conveying information, providing ideas, training in skills.32 With enthusiasm and clever quips, leaders distribute ideas, tips, and guidance. Handouts and reproducible worksheets are eagerly collected and filed. In some sessions, participants share ideas -- but this is still very much a discourse of answers, a confident stance of certainty. On one hand, this offers participants an enormous assortment of potential resources. However, their potential is restricted by the lack of critical discussion. The common view that "each teacher has to find his or her own style" maintains the individualism and isolation of teaching and impedes teachers' growth. What is needed instead are forums in which teaching and learning can be discussed and analyzed, where serious examination of practice, its outcomes, and its alternatives is possible.

One way is which this sort of forum has developed is in groups or sessions in which teachers look closely at artifacts of practice. The Bay Area Writing Project, now the National Writing Project, is one example of a highly successful and longstanding initiative focused on writing and the teaching of writing. Teachers meet regularly to write, read and discuss one another's writing, look at and talk about children's writing, and develop curriculum and teaching strategies for writing. At the Education Development Center, Schifter and her colleagues have designed a series of projects over the last decade in which elementary teachers examined students' written work in mathematics. Not unlike the effective curriculum-based workshops reported by Cohen and Hill, these projects involved teachers in learning mathematics as well as learning about students' thinking about the same mathematics. Teachers also wrote cases about their students and their efforts to help them learn that same mathematics, thus both developing and discussing their own thinking and also creating concrete artifacts for others' discussion and learning.33

Some such opportunities for teachers to work directly with artifacts of practice and to to develop new forms of professional discourse emerge as a product of state and local policy initiatives. In Vermont, for example, a new state assessment system which used portfolios of student work became an occasion for teachers to work together. They examined student portfolios and developed guidelines for the construction of such portfolios, as well as standards for what would count as excellent, acceptable, and weak work. North Carolina is another state in which a high level of professional activity has grown in and around powerful state networks of teachers and teacher educators in mathematics and science. Statewide conferences for teachers, along with strong professional connections and communications, serve to support a context in which individual teachers learn and in which leaders develop who, in turn, strengthen the network. As we describe below, these kinds of strategies for professional development have been prominent in some of the states that have experienced substantial increases in student achievement in recent years.

Content-based professional development. In a recent study of California elementary teachers, Cohen and Hill report on a particular kind of professional development that appears to be strongly related to both changes in teachers' practices and their students' learning.34 Based on analyses of a survey that they administered to a random sample of California elementary teachers and on achievement scores for the students of these teachers, the researchers report that when teachers had extensive opportunities to learn in what they called "student curriculum workshops" in elementary mathematics, their practices more closely resembled those envisioned by the new curriculum framework and their students' achievement on mathematics assessments was significantly higher.

These "student curriculum workshops" refer to teachers' opportunities to use new student curriculum units related to specific concepts in the mathematics framework to investigate mathematics content, instruction, and learning. Within these workshops, leaders in the state department of education devised a strategy called "replacement units," which offered teachers a chance to change one unit within their mathematics teaching by using some specially designed materials for specific curricular areas. These "replacement units" could be taught by teachers in place of their textbook's more conventional approach to particular mathematical topics. In some cases, the content was new (e.g., discrete mathematics) and in others the units used new approaches to familiar topics (e.g., multiplication). As teachers studied and used these units, they discussed them with their colleagues. These discussions focused on content as well as on pedagogy and curriculum, and created an unusual opportunity to learn, both in their own classrooms and from one another.

These sorts of workshops were strikingly distinguishable from other workshops in which there was not any deep connection to a central topic in a school subject. According to the researchers, these sorts of professional development seemed to offer teachers the opportunity to learn new content and new strategies for teaching it, both grounded in issues and problems of their work. Although much professional development continues to be generic (focusing for example on "learning styles" or classroom management), these findings suggest that professional development could be still more effective if it were grounded in particular content material and in the teaching and learning of those topics as represented in concrete problems of practice.

These findings also hold a message for the use of the barrage of newly-developed curriculum material that teachers and schools are adopting. These results suggest that curriculum materials designed for students could offer teachers a concrete context to explore in a way that is connected to content, pedagogy, and learning. In mathematics, for example, the National Science Foundation funded several major curriculum projects in the last five years, and new textbook series are hitting the market now. These materials, published commercially, and aligned with standards for mathematics teaching and systematically piloted in real classrooms, will offer schools new options for instructional material. Wise planning would include serious consideration of how to use the adoption of new innovative material as an occasion to design and launch a teacher study group or other opportunity for teachers to learn.

Learning from the analysis of practice. The examples in the previous section share the feature that they offer access to a common set of material drawn from practice to ground professional discourse. Samples of student work and of teacher work are central to the professional development emerging from the emergence of both student and teaching standards, including those of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and its analog for beginning teacher licensing -- the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). Teachers report that they learn a great deal from analyzing their own and each other's practice against a set of common standards that reflect accomplished teaching and from developing a portfolio that is based on artifacts and reflections on their work.

The INTASC portfolio process, which is designed to support a performance­based licensing system for beginning teachers, can serve as a curriculum for the professional development of beginning and experienced teachers as well as teacher educators. INTASC offers a model to guide beginning teachers in assembling evidence of their professional work that can be evaluated by other educators. In states like Connecticut that have launched these assessments, beginning teachers have an experienced mentor who talks with them about their work and about the process of collecting and assembling their portfolio. This creates an opportunity to structure a focused and ongoing discussion of practice. In addition, experienced teachers are among those who read and examine these portfolios. As they talk with one another about particular candidates' portfolios, they discover many places where they do not agree, have different interpretations, or mean different things by the same term. They also begin to develop some shared standards and language with which to look at teaching and learning. Similarly, teacher educators who become involved, either in assisting beginning teachers in developing their portfolios or in evaluating finished portfolios, have unprecedented opportunities to look closely at practice and to discuss it with other educators. These opportunities can be avenues for them to consider what they are preparing teachers for, and what they might need to learn to do that.

Videotaped lessons that are analyzed and placed in the context of students and curriculum are cornerstones of the National Board and INTASC portfolios. In other contexts, too, such as preservice teacher education and ongoing professional development, videotape offers a concrete context for close study of students, learning, content, and pedagogy. One reason is that "images of reform" are more powerful than abstract discussions of new ideas. Teachers who have never seen children engaged in a mathematics problem, or discussing text, need to have opportunities to see what this can look like. These serve, in part, as existence proofs that such practice can happen in schools and they establish initial stepping stones to the development of such practice.35

Videotape can be used to frame tasks that allow teachers to engage in focused analyses of teaching. Unlike observations of real­time teaching, videotape can be stopped in the middle of an activity to think, write, or talk about it; replay the activity over; and chunk activities together in different ways for different analytic purposes. Teachers can scrutinize particular moves or statements at various points in the lesson and and compare their interpretations or analyses with others'. They can trace a particular idea in the class, examining the roles of teacher and students in the development of that idea. They can focus on particular children and to examine how particular children are thinking. Such work can help teachers develop multiple perspectives and frames of reference with which to interpret information and make conjectures in practice. It may also support the development of teachers' communication skills and capacities by providing a shared common context for the analysis of teaching. In talking with others, teachers can develop language and shared referents for communicating about teaching.36

Some examples can be found in university­based teacher education. Michigan State and University of Michigan faculty have been devising ways to use multimedia records of practice mounted in a hypertext computer system -- videotapes of lessons, children's work, teacher lesson plans, assignments, and reflections -- taken from a third and fifth grade mathematics class across an entire school year as the basis for study of teaching. These artifacts provide opportunities for beginning teachers to investigate teaching and learning, to interpret what they see in multiple ways, and to come to appreciate the context­specific nature of both teaching and knowing in teaching. Teacher education students may study particular children's progress across a year using the records of practice. They may explore the culture of the classroom and how it evolved. They may scrutinize the curriculum to uncover what is being taught, to whom, and who is learning what, and how. Using tools of technology, they can bridge the gap between theory and practice by bringing the classroom to the university.

Promising State Strategies for Improving Teaching

Some states have already begun to take advantage of these more powerful approaches to teacher learning, and many more are preparing to do so, as they add teacher policy to the array of tools they are using in pursuit of higher student standards. In this section we summarize evidence about what has already made a difference in some states and describe practices that seem likely to do so.

Lessons from Last Decade's Reforms

The critical importance of investments in teaching is demonstrated by states' experiences over the past decade. Over that decade of reform, a few states undertook major initiatives aimed at improving the quality of teaching. Notable among them for the size and scope of investments were North Carolina and Connecticut. Both of these states coupled major statewide increases in teacher salaries with intensive recruitment efforts and initiatives to improve preservice teacher education, licensing, beginning teacher mentoring, and ongoing professional development. Since then, North Carolina has posted among the largest student achievement gains in mathematics and reading of any state in the nation, now scoring well above the national average in 4th grade reading and mathematics, although it entered the 1990s near the bottom of the state rankings. (See figures figures 9, 10, and 11).

Figure 9

Changes in NAEP Scores

Grade 8 Math (1990-1996)

*Note: Maine did not participate in 1990. Score is from 1992 assessment.

Source: U.S. Department, National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP 1996 Mathematics Report Card for the Nation and the States, Table 2.3, p.30.

Figure 10

Changes in NAEP Scores

Grade 4 Math (1990-1996)

Source: U.S. Department, National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP 1996 Mathematics Report Card for the Nation and the States, Table 2.2, p. 28.

Figure 11

Changes in NAEP Scores

Grade 4 Reading (1992-1994)

Source: U.S. Department, National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP 1996 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Table 2.3, p. 25.
Connecticut has also posted significant gains, becoming one of the top scoring states in the nation in mathematics and reading, despite an increase in poverty in the state during that time.

North Carolina's reforms boosted minimum salaries, launched an aggressive campaign to recruit able students into teacher preparation by subsidizing their college education, required schools of education to become professionally accredited, invested in teacher education improvements, created professional development academies and a North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, developed local sites to support networks like the National Writing Project, launched a beginning teacher mentoring program, and introduced the most wide-ranging set of incentives in the nation for teachers to pursue National Board certification. North Carolina now boasts more Board-certified teachers than any other state. Recently, the state has created a state professional standards board for teaching and has passed legislation that will create professional development school partnerships for all schools of education, will develop a more intensive beginning teacher mentoring program, will further upgrade licensing standards, will create incentives for teacher knowledge and skill, and will raise teacher salaries once again.

Connecticut spent over $300 million in 1986 to boost minimum beginning teacher salaries in an equalizing fashion that made it possible for low-wealth districts to compete in the market for qualified teachers. This initiative completely eliminated teacher shortages in the state and created surpluses of teachers. At the same time, the state raised licensing standards, instituted performance-based examinations for licensing and a state-funded beginning teacher mentoring program, required teachers to earn a master's degree in education for a continuing license, invested in training for mentors, and supported new professional development strategies in universities and school districts. Recently, the state has further extended its performance-based licensing system to incorporate the new INTASC standards and portfolio assessments modeled on those of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and is supporting the creation of professional development schools linked to local universities. Both North Carolina and Connecticut have recently launched performance assessment systems for students to create better measures of students' higher order thinking and performance skills.

Meanwhile, the nation's top-scoring states have long supported high-quality teaching and teacher learning in a variety of ways. Figures 9-11 show that Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Maine repeatedly rank at the top of the state distribution in student achievement, despite the fact that none of them has had a statewide curriculum or high-stakes testing system37. These states, however, have a long history of professional policy. Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa are among the 12 states that have state professional standards boards. All three have enacted high standards for entering teaching and are among the few states that refuse to hire unqualified teachers on substandard licenses. School districts in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are among the nation's most likely to require a college major or minor in the field taught along with full state certification as a condition of hiring.38 Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa have some of the lowest rates of out-of-field mathematics teaching of any states in the country.39

These states have also been leaders in redefining teacher education and licensing. Minnesota was the first state to develop performance-based standards for licensing teachers and for approving schools of education during the mid-1980s, and has developed a beginning teacher residency program in the years since.40 During the 1980s, Wisconsin was one of the first states to require teachers to earn a major in their subject area in addition to extensive preparation for teaching. Thus, teacher education in Wisconsin is typically a 4 1/2 to 5 year process. (The Wisconsin approach stands in contrast to that of some other states that reduced preparation for teaching when they required students to gain a major in their subject area.) Maine, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota have all incorporated the INTASC standards into their licensing standards and have piloted performance-based assessments of teaching within universities.

The Commission highlighted as exemplars of leading edge preservice and inservice teacher education Maine's innovative postbaccalaureate teacher education program at the University of Southern Maine and its Southern Maine Partnership -- one of two school-university partnerships supported by the state. Maine also supports regional coalitions of school improvement teams, and both Maine and Iowa have launched state grants programs that allow schools to undertake research-based inquiry and professional development tied to their schoolwide efforts to redesign education.

On the other hand, reform strategies that did not substantial efforts to improve teaching have been much less successful. States that instituted new standards and tests in the 1980s without investing in teaching did not experience improved achievement. For example, the first two states to organize their reforms around a standards and testing strategy were Georgia, with its Quality Basic Education Act (QBE) and South Carolina, with its Education Improvement Act of 1984. These states developed extensive testing systems attached to high stakes consequences for students, teachers, and schools. Although both states also mandated tests for teachers, they did not link these assessments to emerging knowledge about teaching or to new learning standards, nor did they invest in improving schools of education or ongoing professional development. As figures 9-11 show, student achievement in mathematics has been flat in these states while achievement in reading declined.

Neither student standards and assessments nor increased salaries for teachers were enough to overcome the effects of large numbers of uncertified teachers and low standards for teacher education, licensing, and hiring. It is also possible that the states' multiple-choice basic skills testing systems worked in opposition to the kinds of student achievement sought by the more performance-based National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which demands a more sophisticated set of learning and teaching strategies. In fact, as figure 4 shows, frequent use of multiple-choice and short-answer tests in reading is associated with lower scores on the NAEP, rather than higher ones.

The high stakes aspects of these reforms may have created other problems as well, such as the states' declining graduation rates. In many states and school districts, test-based sanctions have created incentives for schools to keep out or push out the most educationally needy students: Large numbers of students have been retained in grade so that their scores look better, placed in special education so that their scores don't count, denied admission to schools of choice, or pushed out of schools in order to keep average scores up.41 These strategies have been found to lead to lower student achievement and higher dropout rates in the long run, even though test scores appear to improve in the short run.42

A slightly different story chacterizes the reforms in Kentucky, which have included new standards and assessments without high stakes for students. Kentucky's assessments are much more performance-oriented than traditional standardized tests, and they were accompanied by school redesign initiatives and massive investments in school spending to equalize funds for poor districts. Although Kentucky did not initially invest much of its resources in teacher development, it quickly became apparent that such investments would be needed for any of the state's ambitious reforms to succeed. Since 1990, Kentucky has created a professional standards board, upgraded teacher education and licensing requirements, and created a variety of new approaches to professional development. Although student achievement in reading declined slightly in Kentucky between 1992 and 1994, mathematics achievement increased, although not as steeply as in North Carolina or Connecticut.

The lessons of reforms to date suggest that states should be encouraged to develop standards and assessments for students that emphasize authentic forms of learning and that evaluate longitudinal gains in useful ways. They should also seek to develop systems that help teachers and principals gain the knowledge they need to teach more effectively and to redesign schools so that they can succeed in helping very diverse students learn to meet these new standards.

Promising Strategies for the Future

The strategies used by states that have made great strides in student learning over the last decade are instructive. They include a number that are the basis for systemwide efforts to improve teaching in twelve states that have become partners with the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future: Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oklahoma. These states, and several others that are working with the Commission as associates, have launched a policy inventory that takes stock of the current status of teaching in the state; they have also convened a policy group of stakeholders to use these data in creating strategic plans for legislative and programmatic change aimed at recruitment, preparation, ongoing professional development, and support of teaching.

These states are striving to build policy systems that can support teaching to new standards. Among several promising strategies are the following:

Standards-Based Reforms of Teaching. Virtually all of the Commission's partner states are developing systems of standards for teaching to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and skills to teach students to meet the new curriculum standards. These systems create a continuum of standards for teacher development that are aligned with one another and with the emerging student standards -- professional accreditation of education schools through NCATE (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), beginning teacher licensing assessments using INTASC standards, and advanced certification of accomplished practice through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). States that build this continuum into their policies for approving programs, licensing teachers, and rewarding expert veteran teachers will have developed the foundation for a professional development system that ensures teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to teach diverse learners to high levels.

These standards and the performance-based assessments that accompany them provide a means for rethinking preparation and professional development and for creating incentives for the acquisition of knowledge and skill. Where they are accompanied by policies that equalize the ability of districts to hire qualified teachers and by subsidies for the preparation of future teachers for high need fields and locations (as is true, for example, in North Carolina and Kentucky), they provide the means for creating greater equity in the quality of education children will receive.

Redesign of Teacher Education and Induction. Some partner states, like Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio, have been creating strategies for redesigning schools of education to include professional development schools, sites like teaching hospitals where teachers in training can learn under the guidance of master teachers and teacher educators in settings that are striving to develop state-of-the-art practice for both students and teachers. Some of states are encouraging schools of education to move toward five-year models that provide a year-long internship in professional development school sites. New induction models that provide beginners with much more intensive supervision and with assessment for a continuing license tied to the new teaching standards are under construction in North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois.

Restructured Professional Development. A number of states are working to redesign professional development using the principles we described above. Missouri enacted a two percent set-aside of state and local funds for professional development several years ago. These funds are being used, in part, to support regional professional development centers, while some local districts are using funds to support teacher networks and study groups of various kinds. Ohio has also created regional teacher academies to extend the work launched in the very successful Mayerson Academy in Cincinnati which provides sustained sources of professional development supported by new technologies and shaped and managed by district teachers in collaboration with nearby universities. Ohio also maintains a venture capital fund that has been extremely successful in getting school staffs to undertake research, inquiry, and professional development linked directly to their school needs and immediate problems of practice. Maine supports two school-university partnerships and regional school improvement centers focused on teacher inquiry and support for school-based research, study groups, and professional development schools. Content-based professional development networks in California and Vermont have received state support to work with teachers around new curriculum frameworks and assessments.

All of these efforts hold promise for moving beyond the generic, "hit-and-run" workshops of an earlier era to help teachers successfully meet the challenge of teaching much more ambitious content to students who learn in a wide variety of ways. Professional development that links theory and practice, that creates discourse around problems of practice, that is content-based, and that engages teachers in analysis of teaching can provide the supports needed for the serious teacher learning needed to engender powerful student achievement.


1 With the advent of new portfolio assessment strategies for assessing the knowledge and skills of beginning and experienced teachers as part of the INTASC (Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Commission) and NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), better means exist for probing teachers' expertise that may produce even greater ability to evaluate expertise and its effects on student learning.

2Ronald Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal of Legislation, Vol. 28 (Summer 1991), pp. 465-98.

3Rob Greenwald, Larry V. Hedges, Richard D. Laine, "The effect of school resources on student achievement," Review of Educational Research, Vol. 66 (Fall 1996): 361-396.

4Eleanor Armour-Thomas, Camille Clay, Raymond Domanico, K. Bruno, and Barbara Allen, An Outlier Study of Elementary and Middle Schools in New York City: Final Report. New York: New York City Board of Education, 1989.

5William L. Sanders and June C. Rivers, Cumulative and Residual Effects of Teachers on Future Student Academic Achievement. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Value-Added Research and Assessment Center, November 1996.

6For reviews, see Patricia Ashton and Linda Crocker, "Systemic Study of Planned Variation: The Essential Focus of Teacher Education Reform," Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 38 (May/June 1987): 2-8; Carolyn Evertson, Willis Hawley, and M. Zlotnick, "Making a Difference in Educational Quality through Teacher Education," Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 36 (May/June, 1985): 2-12; Linda Darling-Hammond, "Teaching and Knowledge: Policy Issues Posed by Alternative Certification of Teachers," Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 67 (Spring 1992): 123-154; Martin Haberman, An Evaluation of the Rationale for Required Teacher Education: Beginning Teachers With or Without Preparation. Prepared for the National Commission on Excellence in Teacher Education, Milwaukee, WI: University of Wisconsin, September 1984; Cynthia A. Druva and Ronald D. Anderson, "Science Teacher Characteristics by Teacher Behavior and by Student Outcome: A Meta-analysis of Research," Journal of Research in Science Teaching 20 (May 1983): 467-479; E. G. Begle, Critical Variables in Mathematics Education: Findings from a Survey of the Empirical Literature (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1979); Thomas L. Erekson and Lowell Barr, "Alternative Credentialing: Lessons from Vocational Education," Journal of Teacher Education 36 (May/June 1985): 16-19; James D. Greenberg, "The Case for Teacher Education: Open and Shut," Journal of Teacher Education 34 (July/August 1983): 2-5; Edith Guyton and Elizabeth Farokhi, "Relationships among academic performance, basic skills, subject matter knowledge and teaching skills of teacher education graduates. Journal of Teacher Education (Sept-Oct. 1987): 37-42.

7Druva and Anderson, op. cit.

8Begle, op cit.

9Parmalee Hawk, Charles R. Coble, and Melvin Swanson (1985). Certification: It Does Matter, Journal of Teacher Education, 36 (3): 13-15.

10Jon J. Denton and Lorna J. Lacina, "Quantity of Professional Education Coursework Linked with Process Measures of Student Teaching," Teacher Education and Practice (1984): 39-64; Victor A. Perkes, "Junior High School Science Teacher Preparation, Teaching Behavior, and Student Achievement," Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 6 (1968): 121-126; J. B. Hansen, "The Relationship of Skills and Classroom Climate of Trained and Untrained Teachers of Gifted Students," (unpublished dissertation, Purdue University, Indiana, 1988).

11For a review, see What Matters Most.

12National Center for Education Statistics, Unpublished tabulations from the Schools and Staffing Surveys (Washington, D.C.: National Data Resource Center); Emily Feistritzer, Alternative Teacher Certification: A State-by-State Analysis. (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Information, 1990).

13Marilyn M. McMillen, Sharon A. Bobbitt, and Hilda F. Lynch, "Teacher Training, Certification, and Assignment in Public Schools: 1990-91." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA: April 1994.

14Richard M. Ingersoll, Schools and Staffing Survey: Teacher Supply, Teacher Qualifications, and Teacher Turnover, 1990-1991. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 1995, p. 28.

15Jeannie Oakes, Multiplying Inequalities: The Effects of Race, Social Class, and Tracking on Opportunities to Learn Mathematics and Science. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1990.

16J. Price and D. Ball, "There's always another agenda": Marshalling resources for mathematics reform. Journal of Curriculum Studies (in press).

17For a review see What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future.

18Lynne Paine and L. Ma, Teachers working together: A dialogue on organizational and cultural perspectives of Chinese teachers. International Journal of Educational Research, 19, 675697, 1993.

19William Schmidt, Curtis McKnight, and Senta Raizen, A Splintered Vision, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996.

20Dennis Sparks & Loucks-Horsley, "Models of staff development," In W. R. Houston (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 234250). New York: Macmillan, 1990.

21Lanier, J. and Little, J. W., "Research on teacher education," In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed.), (pp. 527-569). New York: Macmillan, 1986.

22Valerie Lee, Anthony Bryk, & Mary Lou Smith, "The Organization of Effective Secondary Schools." In L. Darling-Hammond (ed.), Review of Research in Education, Vol. 19. Washington, D.C. American Educational Research Association, 1993; Gottfredson, G.D. and Daiger, D.C. (1979). Disruption in 600 schools. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University, Center for Social Organization of Schools; Jomills Braddock, and James McPartland, "Education of Early Adolescents." In L. Darling-Hammond (ed.), Review of Research in Education, Vol. 19. Washington, D.C. American Educational Research Association, 1993.

23This section of the paper and the one that follows draw from D. L. Ball, "Developing mathematics reform: What don't we know about teacher learning -- but would make good working hypotheses?" In S. Friel & G. Bright (Eds.), Reflecting on our work: NSF Teacher Enhancement in K-6 Mathematics, pp. 77 - 111, Lanham, MD: University Press, 1995, and D. L. Ball, "Teacher learning and the mathematics reforms: What do we think we know and what do we need to learn?" Phi Delta Kappan, 77(7), 500- 508, 1996.

24This section borrows extensively from Deborah Ball & David Cohen, Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. Paper prepared for the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. Teachers College: New York, 1995.

25Sarason, 1962.

26M. Lampert and D. L. Ball, ibid. Also, M. Lampert and D. L. Ball. "Learning teaching: New pedagogies, new technologies," Teachers College Press (in press, 1998).

27Feiman-Nemser & M. "The First Year of Teacher Preparation: Transition to Pedagogical Thinking," Journal of Curriculum Studies, 1986, pp. 239-256

28See, for example, S. Feiman-Nemser, "Learning to Teach," In L. Shulman & G. Sykes (Eds.), Handbook of Teaching and Policy (Longman: 1983), pp. 150-170; D. Lortie, Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study. University of Chicago Press: 1975; Robert Tabachnik, Thomas Popkewitz, & Kenneth Zeichner. "Teacher Education and the Professional Perspectives of Student Teachers," Interchange, 10 (4), 1979-80, 12-29.

29For data on effectiveness and retention see Michael Andrew, "The Differences between Graduates of Four-Year and Five-Year Teacher Preparation Programs," Journal of Teacher Education, 41 (1990): 45-51; Thomas Baker, "A Survey of Four-Year and Five-Year Program Graduates and their Principals," Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators (SRATE) Journal 2, no. 2 (Summer 1993): 28-33; Michael Andrew and Richard L. Schwab, "Has Reform in Teacher Education Influenced Teacher Performance?: An Outcome Assessment of Graduates of Eleven Teacher Education Programs," Action in Teacher Education 17 (Fall 1995): 43-53; Jon J. Denton and William H. Peters, "Program Assessment Report: Curriculum Evaluation of a Non-Traditional Program for Certifying Teachers," (Unpublished report, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 1988); and Hyun-Seok Shin, "Estimating Future Teacher Supply: An Application of Survival Analysis (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 1994).(Andrew, 1990; Andrew & Schwab, 1995; Arch, 1989; Denton & Peters, 1988; Dyal, 1993; Shin, 1994).

30For a review see Linda Darling-Hammond, Professional Development Schools: Schools for Developing a Profession. NY: Teachers College Press, 1995.

31Little, J. W. (1993). Teachers' professional development in a climate of educational reform. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 15 (2), 129151.; Lord, B. (1994). In N. Cobb (Ed.), The future of education: Perspectives on national standards in America, (pp. 178-194). New York: College Entrance Examination Board; Sparks & Loucks-Horsley, 1990, ibid.

32Schifter, D. (1996). What's happening in math class? Volume 2: Reconstructing professional identities. New York: Teachers College Press. See also C. Barnett, (1997). Teacher learning from writing cases. Paper presented at the Research Presession of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Minneapolis. (Wested, San Francisco, CA.)

33Cohen, D. K. & Hill, H. (1997, April). Instructional policy and classroom performance: The mathematics reform in California. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago,IL

34This can also easily backfire. Teachers can simply dismiss what they see: "These kids are just very bright -- my students would not be able to do this." "This cannot happen every day."

35M. Lampert & D.L. Ball, Aligning teacher education with contemporary K-12 reform visions. Paper prepared for the National Commission on Teaching andAmerica's Future. Teachers College: New York, 1995.

36Maine just began piloting statewide assessments in 1996.

37National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, 1993-94. State-by-State Data, Table 3.1. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.

38Ibid., Table 3.5.

39For a description of Minnesota's reforms see Linda Darling-Hammond, Arthur E. Wise, and Stephen Klein, A License to Teach. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994.

40Allington and McGill-Franzen, 1992; Darling-Hammond, 1991; Orfield & Ashkinaze, 1991; Smith, 1986; Berry, 1995.

41Holmes & Matthews, 1984; Shepard & Smith, 1986