Teacher Quality in Education Production

Icela Pelayo
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Dominic J. Brewer
New York University


What is a good teacher? Do good teachers make a difference in improving student achievement? While these are simple questions, the answers are more complex. Policymakers and educators are searching for strategies to improve student outcomes. In the U.S., the 2001 the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that all classroom teachers be highly qualified. The assumption is that highly qualified teachers will produce higher measured student achievement. NCLB has set certain criteria for determining the credentials that such teachers must have, but it does little to define the characteristics and skills a teacher must possess in order to be considered high quality. In fact, the research evidence on what observable teacher characteristics impact student achievement provides little guidance. This article discusses empirical evidence on teacher quality in education production. Several comprehensive reviews of the literature have been conducted, so the focus here is on more recent studies.

This article was originally published in the International Encyclopedia of Education by Elsevier and ScienceDirect.

Suggested citationPelayo, I., & Brewer, D. J. (2010, January). Teacher quality in education production [Article]. Policy Analysis for California Education.