Teacher Education Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Standards and Accountability in Schools


In the past two decades, the importance of the teacher’s contribution to student learning has been widely acknowledged. Some researchers have argued that the teacher is the most important factor in explaining differences in student achievement. In previous decades much of the educational research literature explored differences in student achievement based largely on student characteristics such as educational attainment of the parents, socio-economic status, race, and gender. It is only recently that teachers have been placed at the center of research and accountability related to student learning. To put it simply, it is widely said that “teachers matter,” and recent directions in educational accountability have placed student achievement at the forefront of defining teacher effectiveness. One of the emerging measures of defining teacher effectiveness has been the metric of value-added based on student performance on standardized tests.

In this counterpoint essay, the first section addresses some issues of concern about value- added as an indicator of teacher quality. The second section offers a reframing of the question from indicators of teacher quality to indicators of teaching quality, and posits questions that can provide a more robust approach to examining teaching quality. The final sections include thoughts on how high-quality teaching can be identified and supported.

Inclusive pages

148 – 155



Document Version



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Sage Publications

Place of Publication

Thousand Oaks, CA

Link to published version