December 22, 2008 14:30 ET

New Book Captures Educators' Insights on Measuring Teacher Quality

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - December 22, 2008) - Educational Testing Service (ETS) gathered hundreds of leading researchers, authors, teacher educators and policymakers to examine the critical issues surrounding assessment of teacher quality in 2007. Now a new book has captured their provocative, illuminating insights on this challenging task.

The book, "Measurement Issues and Assessment for Teaching Quality," was edited by ETS Distinguished Researcher Drew Gitomer and published by Sage Books, Nov. 2008. It provides an in-depth examination of three thematic issues: Measuring Teaching Quality for Professional Entry, Measuring Teaching Quality in Practice and Measuring Teaching Quality in Context.

"The key message that comes through in so many of the chapters is that the goal of assessing teaching quality is not simply to serve an accounting function," explains Gitomer. "It has to satisfy a higher criterion -- to improve educational quality.

The book focuses on the set of skills, knowledge and attributes that teachers bring to the classroom as well as the highly complex social system in which teaching occurs. "The ultimate quality of teaching depends on the interactions of teachers and students within this complex system," continues Gitomer. "Within such a framework, the goal of assessment is not simply to assess the quality of the teacher, but the quality of the teaching, with the express purpose of improving teaching and student learning."

Section one, "Measuring Teaching Quality for Professional Entry," features the following topics and experts:

--  Measuring Teacher Quality for Professional Entry
    Suzanne M. Wilson, Chair and Professor, Department of Teacher
    Education, Michigan State University
--  Hiring for Teacher Quality at the District Level: Lessons from
    The New Teacher Project
    Timothy Daly, President, The New Teacher Project
    David Keeling, Director of Communications, The New Teacher Project
--  Professionalizing the Occupation of Teaching in a Time of
    Alan D. Bersin, Chairman, San Diego Regional Airport Authority
    Mary Vixie Sandy, Executive Director of the Cooperative Research and
    Extension Service for Schools (CRESS) Center in the School of
    Education at the University of California.
--  Broadening the Vision of Professional Entry - Synthesis of
    Section I
    Ida M. Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Research and
    Development, ETS
    Drew Gitomer, Distinguished Researcher, ETS

Section two, "Measuring Teaching Quality in Practice," features the following topics and experts:

--  Measuring Teacher Quality in Practice
    Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Dean, School of Education, University of
    Heather C. Hill, Associate Professor, Harvard Graduate School of
--  The Policy Uses and Policy Validity of Value-Added and Other Teacher
    Quality Measures
    Douglas N. Harris, Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies,
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
--  Approximations of Teacher Quality and Effectiveness: View From the
    State Education Agency
    Mitchell D. Chester, Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and
    Secondary Education
    Susan Tave Zelman, Senior Vice President for Education and Children's
    Content, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
--  Measuring Teacher and Teaching Quality: Considerations and Next
    Steps -- Synthesis of Section II
    Stephen Lazer, Vice President Assessment Development, ETS

Section three, "Measuring Teaching Quality in Context," features the following topics and experts:

--  Mapping the Terrain of Teacher Quality
    Arturo Pacheco, Professor of Educational Research, University of
    Texas at El Paso
--  Measuring Instruction for Teacher Learning
    Mary Kay Stein, Professor and Senior Scientist, University of
    Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Assistant Professor, Learning Policy
    Center, University of Pittsburgh
--  Opportunity to Teach: Teacher Quality in Context
    Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor of Urban Education, University of
--  Crisp Measurement and Messy Context: A Clash of Assumptions and
    Metaphors -- Synthesis of Section III
    Drew Gitomer, Distinguished Researcher, ETS

The volume closes with a final chapter:

--  Assessment of Teaching or Assessment for Teaching? Reflections on the
    Invitational Conference
    Lee S. Shulman, President Emeritus, Carnegie Foundation for the
    Advancement of Teaching

"Raising the quality of teaching in American schools stands above all other issues, and is unmistakably the public's top priority in education reform," says Kurt Landgraf, ETS President and CEO. "Ironically, teacher quality also registers as the federal government's biggest challenge in reforming education. We hope the publication of this book, which combines the insights of the experts gathered at the ETS Invitational Conference, will inform the debate and contribute to the science of measuring teaching quality."

Details and ordering information on "Measurement Issues and Assessment for Teaching Quality," can be found at

About ETS

At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English-language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually -- including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and "The Praxis Series™" assessments -- in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.