Helping Districts Hire Better Teachers

A Case Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of a District's Teacher Hiring Practices

by Mollie Rudnick

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This dissertation looks at the teacher hiring practices in Huntsville City Schools (HCS), Alabama. The research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to answer the following questions: 1) What are Huntsville City Schools' (HCSs') current hiring practices?; 2) How well does Huntsville City Schools' existing interview process for rating teacher candidates predict the effectiveness of new hires?; and 3) What are the costs and advantages of alternative instruments as compared to the current process? Both the literature on teacher hiring practices and teacher effectiveness and the findings from the quantitative analyses suggest that there is not one clear measure or tool that predicts later teacher effectiveness. Consequently, I also explore the trade-offs across various hiring measures and teacher characteristics that might inform district decision making about teacher hiring. While this research is specific to HCS, the findings can be broadly applied to other schools and districts with an interest in changing their hiring processes.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Background/Literature Review

  • Chapter Three


  • Chapter Four

    RQ1: Background on Huntsville City Schools

  • Chapter Five

    RQ2: Quantitative Analyses

  • Chapter Six

    RQ3: Alternatives to HCS' Current Hiring Process

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusion and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Interview Protocol for March 2014 Site Visit

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in December 2015 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Matthew W. Lewis (Chair), Laura S. Hamilton, and Jennifer L. Steele.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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