a teacher with a pupil in a classroom

commentary

(IFC's Handshake)

January 16, 2013

Grading Teachers

by V. Darleen Opfer

By 2050, we will be judging teaching success rather than teacher's success. This is an important shift that has already begun to occur. In the last few years, as countries around the world have developed new measures for evaluating teachers, it has become clear that teaching success is variable and not static. It can change depending on the conditions under which teaching occurs, the personal and professional circumstances of the teachers themselves, and with the kinds of supports provided for their teaching.

With this understanding of teaching, we are starting to break the long-held notions of “teaching as art” and “once a good teacher always a good teacher.” Research is starting to demonstrate that teaching, like all professions, is something that can be learned, continuously improved upon, and subject to the conditions under which it occurs. This shift in thinking will be an important ingredient for assuring teaching success in the future.

Such a future would likely see significantly more resources devoted to understanding the elements of teaching success, cultivating it with proper renewal of skills, and ultimately producing students who understand their own learning as dynamic and continuous.


V. Darleen Opfer is Director of RAND Education and the Distinguished Chair in Education at the RAND Corporation.

This commentary originally appeared in Handshake, the IFC's (World Bank) quarterly journal on public-private partnerships.

Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.