The Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching Study

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



The TQ ~>QT study is a collaboration between Betsy Jane Becker and me. It was funded in the Spring of 2001 and will be a three-year project. Our intention is to synthesize existing literature spanning a 40-year period. The question we hope to address is whether, and in what ways, indicators of teacher qualifications are related to the quality of teaching practice. One thing that motivated the study was the remarkable variety of comments we saw in which different people drew different "self-evident" conclusions from the same literature. Here are just two examples:

a." More than 200 studies have found that teachers who have more background in their content areas and have greater knowledge of teaching and learning are more highly rated and more successful with students in fields ranging from early childhood and elementary education to mathematics, science and vocational education" (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1999, pp. 377-378).b." . . . I would conclude, if anything, that there is little support for the impact of teachers' subject matter knowledge on student learning" (Friedman, 2000, pp. 20).

Statements as different as these demand further examination, and that is what we set out to do. Our goal is to find and to synthesize the results from all studies carried out in the past 40 years which examine the relationship between teacher qualifications and the quality of teaching. In the category of teacher qualifications, we include such things as level of education, courses taken, major and minor areas of study, test scores, and certification and licensure status. On the other side, evidence of the quality of teaching practice includes observations of teaching practice, artifacts from practice such as portfolios, student assignments and so forth, and evidence of pupil achievement. We include both quantitative and qualitative research in our synthesis.We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, for financial support for this project. Others who are contributing, or have contributed, to the work include David Bolig, librarian in MSU's College of Education, and graduate students Jinyoung Choi, Steve Hundersmarck, Cindy Kendall, Andy Pass, Yanxuan Qu, and Meng-Jia Wu.

Click here to see the proposal for this project.