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Posted at 12:36 AM ET, 04/19/2011

Teacher effectiveness linked to height — Stunning report

Finally we have a research study that tells us something concrete about effective teachers. Below is the lead “story” from the new spring edition of a satirical Onion-esque publication designed for those of us who religiously follow education policy and choose to laugh rather than cry about it. The publication is called Education Tweak (EdTweak.com), and it’s anonymously authored and published. The latest issue is the 15th; this and all the back issues are available at edtweak.com.

By Education Tweak

A new study offers conclusive proof that taller teachers are more effective. Using sophisticated statistical modeling techniques, researchers Tom Able and Eric Fotushek were able to show that if the least effective (aka the shortest) teachers were removed from the teaching ranks at a rate of just seven percent each year and were replaced by teachers with just average effectiveness (approximately 5’ 4.5” tall for women and 5’ 10” tall for men), then within a decade American teacher quality would among be the best in the world.

“The key element of this study,” explained Able, “was our ability at the outset to conclusively define teachers’ effectiveness as equivalent to their height, before we even started looking at the data. Once we figured that out, the rest was easy because there is substantial variation in teachers’ height and -- unlike other possible measures of teacher quality — height is very, very stable across years.”

Fotoshek added that the weaker teachers are easily defined as the shorter teachers -- who the study definitively shows are shorter. If those teachers are replaced by more effective teachers -- the taller teachers who the study definitively shows are taller -- the result is very clearly that the average teaching force becomes more effective (taller).

“The beauty of this research,” Able said, “is that I’m pretty sure we could also improve teachers’ effectiveness this way if we were to use their hair color, their age, or even their students’ value-added test scores. All we have to do is make sure our outcome measure of teacher effectiveness is the same thing we’re manipulating in our models.”

Read the rest of EdTweak’s new spring edition here.

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By  |  12:36 AM ET, 04/19/2011

 
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