When we ask each other, what makes a good school, we often talk about it in a very general way. For example, the school is good, teachers are great, building is clean, Principal is friendly. Researchers and policy makers however are working on much more precision when it comes to defining a good school. For example, a sharper definition for a good school might include: 70% of students read on grade level, and they have a 93% attendance rate. A sharper definition for teacher quality that is lacking in a bad school might include: only 40% of a school’s teachers are experienced, teaching within their field of preparation, and are effective teachers.
National Council on Teacher Quality
Taking just one example of the definition problem and looking at teacher quality across the states, the problem of definition becomes much more clear. Although there is a national legislation definition for teacher quality, states define that differently and may not even collect or correctly display that data for outsiders like parents to use in making decisions about where to send their children to school. The latest report out of the National Council on Teacher Quality shows us these definitional problems:
Data Definitions, Better Display of Comparison Data
So even if it doesn’t seem to be a very high priority, defining the future of school quality might include data collected by the states that was accurate, data that was up to date with the law, and data that was displayed correctly within state data systems and comparable across all states displayed in federal databases. School quality definitions that are clear and comparable would be a great start. Data that can be accessed by us, the public, would be a great goal to help us make the best decisions for our children.