Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Special Issue, 1164-117 2
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
The Importance of Teacher’s Effectiveness
Elizabeth Block, Fran Crochet, Leslie Jones, Tiffany Papa
College of Education, Nicholls S ta t e University, Thibodaux, United St a te s
Email: Le
Received August 31st, 2012; rev is e d S e p t e mber 30th, 2012; accepted October 16th, 2012
Heightened emphases are on teachers and effective teaching particularly linked to the performances of
students in K-12 schools. The purpose of this article is to review perspectives of teaching over a period of
several decades in the literature and to investigate the perceptions of practicing teachers enrolled in
graduate school regarding necessary components of effective teaching. Results indicate that many of the
notions indicated in the literature as essential for effective teaching are aligned with the perceptions of
educators currently enrolled in graduate school. There are definite implications embedded in the article
for school leadership.
Keywords: Teacher Effectiveness; Accountability; Teaching Methods
The performance of American students and teacher account-
ability are highlighted in many of the recent and older publica-
tions. In Fullan’s (2010) book, All Systems Go, Sengne (2010)
cites the rapid decline in achievement of our students. Segne
(2010) observes that fifty years ago, our nation’s students
ranked at the top of the world in education while our current
ranking among advanced countries is at the bottom. The
graduation rates at our schools reflect the under-performance of
our students.
Fullan (2010) states that there are high performing schools
throughout the country, and at least ten years earlier, Slavin &
Fashoa (1998) noted that there were positive changes in student
learning in schools. Murphy & Adams (1998) also noted in the
same era that many of the educational reform efforts have not
lived up to expectations (1998). In addition, Segne documents
that we have allocated money to ineffective reform efforts and
real change is still possible.
According to Segne and colleagues (1999,) the pre-requisite
for school reform is that we must believe change is possible.
Fullan (2010) states that the importance of conviction is critical
for change. The conviction should be coupled with a clear
framework and practical tools. Odden’s (1992) perspective of
reform is aligned with the perspectives of Segne (1999) and
Fullan (2010). He says it takes will and persistence. Kennedy
(2003), Segne (2010), and Schmoker (2011) also provide ex-
planations for the lack of success in reform.
Kennedy (2003) suggests that school reform has not lived up
to expectations for the following reasons: changes must be
systemic; changes must be guided by a shared vision with
measurable goals and benchmarks; change must involve all key
stakeholders; change must be planned and incremental; change
must address the needs and responsibilities of all stakeholders;
and change should be a continuous, evolving process guided by
empirical data. In Raising Test Scores for All Students, Ken-
nedy (2003) asserts that the nature of much reform has been too
Kennedy emphasized the need for positive changes in
schools through careful data analyses linked to needs assess-
ments with a focus on promoting positivism in climates of
schools. In a recent publication, Schmoker (2011) states that
“time” is one of the critical elements for change. This is also
noted in Senge and Colleagues’ (1999) The Dance of Change.
Schmoker (2011) notes that it takes as many as seven years to
effect positive change in schools. Educators should focus on
“what is essential” and “ignore the rest.”
Obviously, the issues of student performance, under-per-
formance, and reform are matters that are discussed by many
researchers. Furthermore, there are other researchers who ad-
dress the legislation and implications linked to accountability
and reform. The most recent accountability legislation includes
A Nation at Risk and No Child Left Behind (with its reauthori-
zation). Currently, state boards of education are applying for
waivers to be exempt from many of the mandates of the reau-
thorization of No Child Left Behind.
The increased awareness and attention on student perform-
ances, accountability, and reform have also led to greater dis-
course among researchers and educators regarding the roles of
teachers and principals. Todd Whitaker (2004) says that an
effective teacher is an effective leader, and an effective leader
is a great teacher or other student growth indicators. That is,
teachers who are great have great leadership skills. Leaders
who are great are effective teachers.
In Louisiana, reform and accountability for teachers and
principals have recently been linked with the passage of Act 54.
Fifty percent of teacher evaluations are based on the learning of
students measured by the value added model or other student
growth measures. In this article, we focus on the effective
teacher from the perspective of teaching as a process and the
means/methods to evaluate effective teaching. In this article,
the competencies and characteristics of effective teaching are
discussed from multiple perspectives—as the perspectives
evolved historically—Langlios & Zales (1991), Cashmere
(1999), Sanders (2000), and Olivia & Pawlas (2008).
In addition to providing an historical perspective of effective
teaching from the literature, the authors surveyed teachers in a
graduate class regarding their perspectives of effective teaching.
A focus group was also conducted with the graduate class
which will be discussed in this article. Several states have re-
cently adopted the common core as the curriculum for English
Language Arts and mathematics. The instrument for teacher
evaluation (which is the indicator of teacher effectiveness) will
ultimately be adjusted in many districts and states.
In Table 1,
the four perspectives of effective teaching which are discussed
are summarized.
Langlois and Zales’ Perspective
Langlois and Zales (1991) provide a perspective of effective
teaching that includes a profile which may not identify every
effective teacher, but it describes a basis to start. The profile
outlines four categories—time for learning, importance of rou-
tines, teacher to student, and praise and accountability. Time for
learning focuses on effective teacher behaviors associated with
time factors while implementing instruction. Langlois and Zales
(1991) suggest that effective teachers engage students in activi-
ties and make the most of instructional time.
Students should be engaged in learning for the maximum
amount of time with the least amount of interruptions as possi-
ble. Engaging students in the learning process does require the
use of the competencies suggested by Olivia and Pawles (2008).
The competency of following a model of instruction is critical
because teachers must plan the activities to engage students and
then implement the strategies. The time for learning profile
suggests that teachers hold high expectations for students and
manage student behaviors. Both of these teacher behaviors/dis-
positions have been discussed considerably among educators;
the authors believe that there is agreement that both are neces-
sary in classroom environments for teaching to occur.
The second category in the profile described by Langlois and
Zales (1991) is the importance of routines. It is suggested that
effective teachers are organized and use a sequence of activities;
however, a variety of teaching methods and materials are used
so that students do not become bored. Classrooms where teach-
ers exhibit these behaviors are structured learning climates
where students feel the freedom to take care of their responsi-
bilities. In addition, continuity and consistency are practices
that underscore student learning.
Teacher to student is the third category of the profile which
focuses on the communication skills and the ability of the
teacher to use information on students in planning and imple-
menting the lesson. Effective teachers are good communicators,
and they treat students with respect. According to Bagin and
Gallagher (2001), educators have a false impression regarding
the ability to communicate. It is critical for teachers to have
positive interaction with students. It enhances the possibility of
effective student achievement.
In lesson planning and implementa tio n, effective teachers use
the knowledge of their students’ interests as a motivational tool
to help meet the needs of their students. Students feel comfort-
able and willing to be engaged when the atmosphere is positive
and respectful. Cashmere (1999) also discusses the importance
of engaging students as a necessary component of effective
teaching. As previously stated, the engaging of students in
learning requires teachers to use the model of instruction that
Olivia and Pawles (2001) outline as being critical to effective
teaching. Students tend to retain information longer when they
are actively involved in their learning.
The fourth category of the profile is praise and accountability.
Praising students is one of the ways to give feedback to stu-
dents. Olivia and Pawlas (2008) also noted the importance of
providing students with feedback as a means of being skilled in
the systematic approach as opposed to older approaches.
Teachers who provide feedback to students are teachers who
informally and formally assess students.
The informal assessment of students is often ignored or
omitted by teachers, but it must occur continuously throughout
the lesson. Conscious efforts must be made by teachers to give
praise and constructive feedback—effective teachers plan to
informally assess students as the lesson is being implemented.
Constructive feedback is explicit and specific and provides
explanations to students regarding performance. Accountability
must also be ensured by teachers. The methods by which teach-
ers ensure accountability include establishing routines, planning,
and extending the subject to other disciplines.
Cashmere’s Perspective
Cashmere (1999) views effective teaching as an art and a sci-
ence. This perspective of effective teaching also suggests that
there are competencies that effective teachers possess. In addi-
tion, Cashmere suggests that there are behaviors/dispositions
exhibited by effective teachers. According to Cashmere (1999),
the science and art must be cleverly combined.
Teachers use pedagogy (the science)—their knowledge of
teaching methodology and content to craft (the art) lessons that
engage students; the lessons are translated with the use of artis-
tic skills. The use of the science implies that teachers must have
knowledge and skills. The knowledge base that effective teach-
ers possess is two-fold. An effective teacher has content knowl-
edge of their specific subjects and knowledge of methodol-
ogy—pedagogy which is the how to present the lesson. Teach-
ers should have at their disposal multiple ways to present les-
sons and the ability to adapt/ adjust instruction.
The ability to adapt/adjust instruction requires the use of the
teachers’ artistic skills. If students are not comprehending, ef-
fective teachers recognize this and teachers begin to use differ-
ent presentation styles, activities, or examples. Creativity and
flexibility becomes necessary in making adjustments which
require the teacher to use skills and exhibit behaviors of engag-
ing in competent practices and serving students. Therefore, the
knowledge, skills, and dispositions of teachers are important in
the effective delivery of instruction. These concepts are also
embedded in the six competencies of Olivia and Pawlas (2008).
In Table 1, the competencies of Cashmere (1991) and Olivia
and Pawlass are presented along with two other persepctives.
Sanders’ Perspective
In his writing, Characteristics of Effective Teaching, Sanders
(2000) uses the work of Harry Murray to provide twelve dis-
tinctive characteristics of effective teachers. The characteristics
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1165
Learning centered;
Flexibility; and
Several of these characteristics are addressed in the perspec-
tives of Olivia and Pawlas (2008), Cashmere (1999), and Lan-
glois and Zales (1991). Furthermore, several of these character-
istics must be exemplified by effective teachers to use perspec-
tives suggested by the other theorists. For instance, both Lan-
glois and Zales (1991) and Olivia and Pawles (2008) suggest
that effective teachers engage students. Teachers cannot be
effective at engaging students unless they possess some enthu-
siasm—making an effort to solicit student attention. In addition,
to effectively engage students, teachers must be flexible—open
to change. There must be interaction—ways to foster participa-
tion among students; it is also essential for the teacher to be
organized and learning centered to engage students.
Sanders (2000) gives descriptors of the twelve characteristics.
In addition to soliciting student attention and interest, a teacher
who is enthusiastic speaks in a dramatic way, moves while
presenting, gestures with hands, maintains eye contact, and
smiles while teaching. An effective teacher is able to clarify
concepts (clarity). In addition, a teacher who exhibits clarity
gives several examples, uses concrete everyday examples, de-
fines new terms, repeats directions, and points out practical
applications. Effective teachers foster student participation
(interaction). Teachers who are effective at developing interac-
tion (encouraging questions from students), avoid direct criti-
cism, praise students, ask questions to the whole class and indi-
vidual students, and use a variety of media activities.
Teachers who are effective at organization use headings and
subheadings to organize presentation, use outlines, clearly in-
dicate transitions from one topic to the next, give preliminary
overviews, and give explanations of how topics fit subject areas.
Pacing is the fifth characteristic cited by Sanders (2000) as a
characteristic of effective teachers. Teachers who are effective
at pacing are teachers that digress rarely, cover the important
material, ask and confirm if students understand prior to pro-
ceeding, and stick to the point when answering questions from
students. Disclosure implies explicitness regarding course re-
quirements. Teachers who exhibit disclosure advise students,
provide sample exam questions, tell students expectations, state
objectives, remind students of deadlines, and review objectives
of the entire course.
According to Sanders (2000), effective teachers engage in
voice relevancy. They speak at appropriate volumes; they speak
clearly; and they speak at an appropriate pace. The eighth
characteristic of an effective teacher, as suggested by Sanders
(2000), is rapport. Effective teachers who have rapport with
students address individual students by name, announce avail-
ability for consultation, offer help to students with problems,
show tolerance, talk with students, and acknowledge diversity.
Bridging the gap between course content and the “real”
world is important for student understanding and is the next
identified characteristic. Students need to see the relevancy of
information. Teachers who demonstrate the need to use rele-
vancy in instruction provide holistic context for learning, inte-
grate materials from the world, provide access to external
sources, and provide opportunities for learners to apply learning
to the external world.
The tenth characteristic identified by Sanders (2000) is
learner centered. Teachers who are learner centered focus on
the learning outcomes and growth of students; they are design-
ers and coaches; they work in teams when necessary; and they
have some control over the learning process. Flexibility follows
and implies openness to change and diverse ways of looking at
material. Effective teachers are flexible, and they appeal to
different learning styles and appreciate multiple perspectives.
The final characteristic is leadership. Teachers who are leaders
model civil behavior, model intellectual engagement, and pro-
vide intellectual challenges for all levels of lea rner abilities.
Olivia and Pawlas’ Perspective
Olivia and Pawlas (2008) suggest that there are six compe-
tencies teachers should possess in order to be effective. Teach-
ers should be skilled in:
following a systematic approach;
following a model of instruction;
writing instructional goals and obje ctives;
applying taxonomies of instructional objectives;
describing and analyzing learning tasks; and
organizing instructional plans.
When teachers utilize a systematic approach for instructional
design, the focus for instruction is on what the learner will do
(objectives). The daily use of performance written objectives
can enhance student performance on standardized tests. Older
approaches focused on what the teacher presently does which
takes the concentration away from students. Engaging students
in learning becomes critical in maintaining the attention of
learners. Using the systematic approach, the objectives are ap-
parent to students before instruction begins; continuous feed-
back is provided, and the necessary redesign of activities is
There are many advantages for students when feedback is
provided. Giving students feedback may serve as “eye-openers”
for students regarding their present level of functioning, and
feedback may be used to motivate students. In addition, some
students need constant reinforcement that feedback provides.
Redesigning instruction as it is being presented is important
because it may be necessary for the teacher to change a presen-
tation style or change some component of the lesson for stu-
dents to grasp the concepts from the lesson. Feedback and re-
design are not embedded in the older approaches. Obviously,
the systematic approach produces the most effective teaching
because it is the most student-centered approach.
Olivia and Pawles’ (2008) second competency for teachers
involves planning, presenting, and evaluating instruction.
Within this model, there are multidimensional considerations of
each component. Classroom management is embedded in plan-
ning, presenting, and evaluating instruction. Planning precedes
presentation and evaluation of instruction, and it is essential for
the effective delivery of instruction; it requires teachers to ana-
lyze learner needs in order to determine appropriate goals and
objectives, which is the third skill suggested by Olivia and
Pawles (2008). Determining goals and objectives are embedded
in the second competency.
The analyses of learner needs dictate that teachers should
possess a sense of familiarity with the l earners which may demand
that teachers do research on individual students—researching
records, cumulative folders, and test scores to determine their
students’ individual strengths and weaknesses. Consequently,
planning and writing instructional goals and objectives based
on the analysis data will truly benefit all involved including the
“whole child.” The research on students is also necessary in the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
application of taxonomies—the fourth competency. When ap-
propriate, behavioral objectives should be written for the cogni-
tive, affective, and psychomotor domains. Although the arts
and physical activity are sometimes minimized in schools, it is
the responsibility of schools to develop the “total child.” Most
of the objectives written by content teachers who are not
physical education teachers are cognitive behavior objectives;
however, it is necessary for teachers to write objectives that
focus on the affective and psychomotor domain.
In the article, “Enhancing Your Teacher Effectiveness,” the
author suggests that students should be involved in planning.
Students must be involved in identifying their learning needs
and outcomes. The involvement from students helps to ensure
that goals and objectives are attainable and realistic for students.
As teachers plan and decide on appropriate goals and objectives,
teachers must also decide on implementation strategies. The
student involvement should continue as teachers determine
strategies to implement. The use of the fifth competency is
important as strategies are determined. Specific learning tasks
should be aligned with each learning objective, and the strategy
must compliment the learning tasks. The strategies utilized
must also be right for the learner, the subject matter, the time
available, the resources available, the facilities, the objective,
and the teacher. Alignment of objectives with strategies, activi-
ties, and learning tasks is critical for effective teaching.
At some point, after the teacher has worked at developing the
previously discussed competencies, the teacher must put all of
the components together. The organization of lesson plans be-
gins with the teacher looking at the content knowledge and the
outcomes. The content must also be divided into topics which
required the teacher to estimate the amount of time each topic
will take for student mastery. Implementation of the material
then becomes critical. Each lesson should have a beginning,
middle, and end. The teacher implements the plan—at each
stage of the lesson; effective teachers make the necessary ad-
justments based on learner needs. Olivia and Pawles (2008)
suggest that teachers must inform students what they are going
to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you have told them.
As previously discussed throughout the article, there are
some obvious areas of overlap on effective teaching as viewed
from the four perspectives. The perspectives are presented in
Table 1. However, there are many variations in the perspec-
tives. Furthermore, many other perspectives exist. Regardless
of the perspective embraced regarding effective teaching, the
concept is very complex and difficult to define and/or describe.
The most important view of effective teaching is its role as a
component of accountability. The effective teaching and
schools research suggest that effective teaching makes a differ-
ence in student achievement (Olivia & Pawlas, 2008). Over
twenty years ago, A Nation at Risk cited the need for improve-
ment for our nation’s schools. The recent NCLB legislation
reemphasizes the need for improvement. A critical place to
begin is with a critical look at teaching—classroom teachers
must embrace effect ive teaching practices.
Teacher effectiveness is one of the ultimate goals of educa-
tion. The way in which we measure teacher effectiveness is
through a teacher evaluation tool. “Teacher evaluation has
emerged as a key strategy for improving student outcomes in
public education” (Curtis & Wiener, 2012: p. 3). Teachers vary
in their effectiveness and subsequently, evaluation instruments
need to identify and address these differences. Over the last
couple of years, most states have developed new policies re-
garding teacher evaluations, including requirements to factor
student achievement (test scores) into individual teacher
evaluations. The field is moving quickly in this direction and is
now implementing these new evaluations (Curtis & Wiener,
In order for teacher effectiveness to impact educational im-
provement, teacher evaluations must be completed correctly.
Historically, public education has tried methods of evaluating
teacher effectiveness that have fallen short due to poor planning
and weak execution (Curtis & Wiener, 2012).
Most of the current teacher evaluations focus on giving the
teacher a rating and holding that teacher accountable for his/her
performance. Teachers are categorized as high performers or
low performers. The high performers are recognized as such
and the low performers are pursued for dismissal. This focus is
problematic in that the evaluation tool usually does not include
support for teacher improvement. The majority of teachers fall
in middle range of performance evaluations, therefore, leading
schools to mediocre teaching instead of excellence in education
(Curtis & Wiener, 2012).
To reach the goal of teacher effectiveness and ultimately
student success, teachers must be evaluated. The evaluating
instruments must be further studied in order to maximize the
potential of teacher evaluations. Additionally, instruments need
to identify each teacher’s capabilities and insure a rating on the
“whole” teacher and not just test scores. This may retain more
effective teachers for longer periods of time (Curtis & Wiener, 2012).
In Zapeda’s (2007) Instructional Tools, she discusses the
importance of classroom observations for improving the pro-
fessional development opportunities for teachers. School lead-
ers who evaluate teachers can use the evaluating instruments as
a basis for beginning discussions that lead to both informal and
more formal professional development opportunities for teach-
ers. Professional development should obviously lead to im-
provements in teaching and other professional dispositions.
Method for Focus Group and Surveying
A focus group was conducted with eleven graduate candi-
dates enrolled in the K-12 School Leadership Program at
Nicholls State University. These candidates were also surveyed.
The K-12 School Leadership Program is a two-year cohort
model where candidates matriculate through courses—taking
all courses in the same semesters. The focus of the curriculum
is the Interstate School Licensure Consortium Standards.
Candidates participating in the focus groups and completing
the surveys are candidates completing the program. They are
enrolled in the Internship; the final field-experience of the pro-
gram. Eight of the eleven candidates have five or more years of
teaching experiences in education; which represents more than
70 percent of the participants in the study.
Two of the authors facilitated the focus group. One of the
authors has facilitated several of the courses with the candidates
over two years; and the other facilitator has interacted with
several of the candidates through other university-based ex-
periences. The candidates participating in the focus group were
also surveyed.
The questions/statements in the survey were designed by all
of the professors involved in the project. The basis for the sur-
vey centered around the research perspectives on effective
teaching along with perspectives of teacher evaluations em-
bedded in the new value-added model and the compass instru-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1167
ment. The surveys were also reviewed by additional faculty
members for purposes of reliability.
The perspectives of effective teaching are discussed in the
article; the included perspectives are Langlios & Zales (1991),
Cashmere (1999), Sanders (2000), and Olivia & Pawlas (2008).
Value-added is the teacher evaluation tool based on a growth
model for students’ performances that has a heightened focus in
the area; and the compass instrument is being piloted in Lou-
isiana as a teacher observation instrument.
The survey was administered prior to the focus group discus-
sions in an effort to eliminate any biased opinion projected on
the surveys. That is, the authors attempted to eliminate the po-
tential of the surveys impacting the responses in the focus
group. The following questions were asked in the focus group:
Question from the Literature Review
What attributes would you consider a highly effective teacher
to possess?
Questions from Value-added
1) Do you agree that the measurements of teacher growth in-
stead of focusing on other variables are a fairer way of evaluat-
ing teachers?
2) Do you believe that prior achievement should be the pri-
mary indicator of future success?
3) Do you think prior achievement is the most important fac-
tor in predicting achievement?
Questions from the Teacher Rating Forms—Compass
Do you believe a portfolio will be necessary to document:
a) Environment Standard 3 (creates opportunities for students,
families, and others to support accomplishment of learning goals)
b) Professionalism Standard 1 (teacher engages in self-re-
flection and growth opportunities to support high levels of
learning for all students)
c) Professionalism Standard 2 (teacher collaborates and
communicates effectively with families, colleagues, and the
community to promote students’ academic achievement and to
accomplish school’s mission)
Anecdotal notes were written as the focus group was con-
ducted; and the focus group was video-recorded as a means to
add validity to the anecdotal records. Also, member-checking
of the notes occurred for purposes of reliability.
Interestingly, candidates participating in the data gathering
processes of both surveys and focus group noted that the per-
spectives of effective teaching cited in the literature are impor-
tant attributes of effective teaching. When asked in the focused
groups, what are the characteristics of highly effective teachers,
the following responses were given:
Goes beyond the five part lesson of aligning objectives with
Is student-centered; learner-centered;
Has high performing students;
Demonstrates student growth;
Fulfills criteria for growth;
Engages students in rigor and relevance;
Differentiates instruction according to needs of students;
Engages students;
Uses interventions;
Is self-reflective;
Has ownership in the classroom;
Has great content knowledge;
Has knowledge of students;
Is Flexible;
Is enthusiastic;
Is excited; and
Is the whole package (reflects; engages; sets expectations;
have positive climates; knows students).
The responses were categorized and coded. The emerging
themes from the categorizations are: student centered and stu-
dent descriptors; knowledge and skills; and disposition-based
responses. That is, the responses of the focus group participants
indicate that effective teachers are student centered; possess
specific knowledge and skills; and exhibit specific dispositions.
The responses that are coded as student-centered/student de-
scriptors are:
Is student-centered; learner-centered;
Has high performing students;
Demonstrates student growth;
Engages students in rigor and relevance;
Differentiates instruction according to needs of students;
Engages students.
The responses that are categorized and coded as knowledge
and skills are:
Fulfills criteria for growth;
Is self-reflective; and
Has great content knowledge.
The responses that are coded dispositions based are:
Has ownership in classroom;
Is flexible;
Is excited;
Is Whole Package (reflects; engages; sets expectations; have
positive climates; knows students).
Two miscellaneous items were not categorized:
Goes beyond the five part lesson of aligning objectives with
Table 2 (at the conclusion of the paper) includes a chart that
depicts the findings from the survey; One hundred percent of
the candidates reported that the characteristics of effective
teaching from the literature are “highly effective” or “effective”
teaching competenci es .
Questions/statements on the survey 9 - 33 reflect the per-
spectives of effective teaching cited in the literature. Questions/
statements 2 - 8 are components aligned with value-added and
the compass. For this area, there was variability in the state-
ments expressing agreement and disagreement from the par-
ticipants. The majority of the graduate candidates either
“strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the performance of teachers
should be linked to prior achievement and growth of students.
In addition, the majority also “agreed” or strongly agreed that
portfolios be used to document com ponents for teacher evaluations.
See Table 2 for all of the responses.
Future Implications
It is evident from the survey and focus group that the quali-
ties and competencies required of effective teachers, as ex-
pressed in the literature over the past two decades, is still cul-
turally relevant in today’s classrooms and schools. In addition,
the proposed means by which effective teachers are evaluated
(value-added, the compass, and portfolios) are also deemed to
be important and accurate means by which teachers should be
assessed. Given the political and social discourse over the topic
of teacher evaluation in states such as Louisiana, it is often
difficult to ascertain which measure will be most effective in
improving the overall quality of education at the state and na-
tional levels.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1169
Table 1.
A look at four perspectives.
Langlios & Zales (1991) Cashmere (1999) Sanders (2000) Olivia & Pawlass (2008)
Four Categories Competencies & Dispositions 12 Characteristic s 6 Competencies Skilled in Following
Time for Learning Art & Science Enthusiasm Systematic Approach
Routines Science—Pedagogy Clarity Model of Instruction
Teacher t o S t udent Art-Engage S tudents Interaction Writing Instructional Objectives
Praise & Accountability Organization Applying Taxonomies of Instructiona l Objectives
Pacing Describing and Analyzing Learning Tasks
Disclosure Organizing Instructional Plan
Learning centered
The sample utilized for this research includes teachers who
are seeking further professional development in the form of an
advanced degree. This sample was diverse in terms of age, sex,
race, schools of employment and school performance or ratings.
The fact that the majority of these candidates feel that the per-
formance of teachers should be linked to prior achievement and
growth of students is significant in that these are motivated
individuals who have advanced their own knowledge and skills
through graduate school. Rather than complacently biding their
time in classrooms, these individuals feel it is incumbent upon
the teacher to elevate his/her professional status through an
advanced degree.
While the sample in the study was diverse in its composition,
a larger sample from a broader geographic region would allow
for greater generalizability. In addition, this sample included
individuals who personally sought out professional growth
through higher education. It would be beneficial to survey
teachers who are just starting their careers and those who are
not seeking a master’s degree to determine different perspec-
tives from individuals who do not possess the same motivation
or initiative with regard to professional development. In addi-
tion, it would be beneficial to include teacher participants who
have been evaluated via the current efficacy instrument so that
their perspectives could be aligned with their scores.
The findings from this study have implications on the future
of teacher evaluation in Louisiana and the nation at large.
Presently, the tools and methods used to evaluate teacher effi-
cacy change almost daily. Lawmakers and boards of education
should be guided by the perspectives of Langlios & Zales
(1991), Cashmere (1999), Sanders (2000), and Olivia & Pawlas
(2008) in creating or adopting an instrument that is comprehen-
sive in measuring the attributes of teacher efficacy as outlined
by these authors. Some states are adopting measures that place
too much weight on one area (student achievement, teacher
dispositions, or teacher knowledge) whereas a more balanced
approach helps to identify areas of real weakness or mediocrity
and a plan for growth.
There are obviously varying perspectives of effective teach-
ing in the literature. Perspectives of effective teaching are pre-
sented in this article from an historical vantage point. The per-
spectives of Langlios & Zales (1991), Cashmere (1999), Sand-
ers (2000), and Olivia & Pawlas (2008) are discussed with
Langlios & Zales’ categories linked to a profile of effective
The perspective of Cashmere suggests that effective teaching
is an art and a science in which the art and science must be
cleverly combined. Twelve distinct characteristics necessary for
effective teachers are identified by Sanders, some of which are
knowledge-based while others are disposition-based. Olivia &
Pawlas (2008) identified six competencies in which teachers
should be skilled.
The historical literature review and the current emphases on
teaching aligned with accountability are the guiding framework
used to develop a survey along with questions for a focus group.
Graduate candidates were surveyed, and a focus group was also
conducted with the candidates surveyed. One hundred percent
of the candidates surveyed suggested that the indicators in the
literature of effective teaching are critical attributes of effective
teaching. In other words, the candidates agreed that all of the
categories and characteristics identified in the literature are
critical for effective teaching. Further study is needed on the
degree that the competencies are integrated into instruction.
All of the candidates agreed that measurement of growth in-
stead of achievement was fairer in evaluating teacher perform-
ance and was the primary indicator of future success. The ma-
jority of candidates also believed that portfolios would be nec-
essary in documenting performances for evaluations. The dis-
crepancy appeared in whether prior achievement is the most
important factor in predicting achievement and if students
should rate the performances of teachers.
Furthermore, the analyses of coding and categorization from
the focus group suggested that effective teachers are student
centered; possess specific knowledge and skills; and exhibit
specific dispositions. The analyses of the study align with
Schmoker’s (2011) ideals. He suggests that educators are
knowledgeable of best practices. The challenge often comes
with implementation of best practices and other issues.
Odden (2009: p. 22) and Collins (2005) make similar asser-
tions regarding the implementation of best practices in schools.
Odden (2009) suggests that “will and persistence” are critical to
implementation of best practices for educators. He believes that
failure to improve schools is not due to a lack of “know how.”
That is, educators are aware of the “hows” to improving
schools. Collins (2005) suggests that innovation is not needed;
the key to success is “simplicity and diligence.”
Educators participating in the study agreed with the concepts
cited historical ly in t he lit e rature as being essential. Table 2 has
the summary of results. This in a sense validates that the
knowledge of best practices is prevalent in the group surveyed.
The current challenge and future challenge for implementation
of best practices will be closely aligned with the roles of school
leaders in promoting professional development along with in-
formal and formal professional development by teachers and
other stakeholders.
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Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
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Collins, J. (2005). Good to great and the social sectors: A monograph
to accompany good to great. New York: Harpercollins Publishers.
Curtis, R., & Wiener, R. (2012). A guide to developing teacher evalua-
tion systems that support growth and development. Washington, DC:
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Fullan, M. (2010). Failure is not an option: Six principles that guide
student achievement in high performing schools. Thousand Oaks, CA:
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Langlois, D., & Zales, C. (1991). Anatomy of a top teacher. American
School Board Journal, 178, 44-46.
Murphy, J., & Adams, J. E. Jr. (1998). Reforming America’s schools
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Olivia, P., & Pawlas G. (2001). Supervision for today’s schools (6th
ed.). New York: Wiley & Sons.
Odden, A. (2009). Ten strategies for doubling student performance.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Odden, A (1992). Rethinking school finance: An agenda for the 1990s.
New York: Jossey Bass.
Sanders, P. (2000). Characteristics of effective teaching. URL (last
checked 2009).
Senge, P., Kleiner, R., Roberts, C., Roth, G., Ross, R., & Smith, R.
(1999). The dance of cha nge . New York: Doubleday Publishers.
Schulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundation of the new
reform. Harvard Educational Review, 5, 1-22.
Schmoker, M. (2011). Focus: Elevating the essentials to radically im-
prove student learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Slavin, R. E., & Fashola, O. S. (1998). Show me the evidence: Proven
and promising programs for America’s schools. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press.
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cepts. New York: Ey e o f Education.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 2.
A. Teacher less than 5 years. B. Teacher more
than 5 years. C. Administrator
less than 5 years. D. Administrator more
than 5 years. E. Other
1) 1 8 2
A. Strongly agree/favor B. Agree/Favor C. Disagree D. Strongly disagree
2) Measurement of Growth instead of achievements are fairer
ways of evaluating teachers.
3 8
3) Prior achievement should be t h e primary indicator of future
5 6
4) Prior achievement is the most importan t factor in predict ing
achievement. 5 4 2
5) Students should rate their teacher’s performance.
2 5 3 1
6) A portfolio will b e necessary to d ocument Environment
Standard Three of the Compass. 10 1
7) A portfolio will be necessary to document Professionalism
Standard 1 of the Compass. 9 2
8) A portfolio will be necessary to document Professionalism
Standard 2 (self-reflection of the teacher) of the Compass. 9 2
A. Highly effective teaching competency B. Effective teaching
competency C. Not needed as a
teaching competency D. Ineffective
teaching competency
9) Time for learning, instructional time not wasted
9 2
10) Routines
6 5
11) Teacher to student-positive interaction
10 1
12) Praise & Accountability
9 2
13) Art of crafting lesson
6 5
14) Science —Pe da gogy
5 6
15) Adapting l essons to engage students
10 1
16) Enthusiasm
7 4
17) Clarity—clarity concepts
6 4
18) Interactions— foster student participation
9 2
19) Organization of Information
5 6
20)Effective pacing
7 4
21) Disclosure of cour se requirements
4 7
22) Speech-voice relevancy
1 10
23) Rapport w i th students
6 5
24.) Relevance of in fo r mation
7 4
25) Learning centered
8 3
26) Flexibil ity
3 8
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1171
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
27) Leadership
8 3
28) Skilled i n following a systematic approach
5 6
29) Skilled in follow i ng a model of i nstruction
6 5
30) Skilled in writing instructional objectives
4 7
31) Skilled i n applyi n g t axonomies of instructional o bj ectives
5 6
32) Skilled i n describing and analyzing learning tasks
8 3
33) Skilled in organi zing instructional p l ans
5 5 1