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Teacher Quality and Educational Equality: Do Teachers with Higher Standards‐Based Evaluation Ratings Close Student Achievement Gaps?

University of Wisconsin—Madison

Using standards‐based evaluation ratings for nearly 400 teachers, and achievement results for over 7,000 students from grades 4–6, this study investigated the distribution and achievement effects of teacher quality in Washoe County, a mid‐sized school district serving Reno and Sparks, Nevada. Classrooms with higher concentrations of minority, poor, and low‐achieving students were more likely to be taught by teachers with lower evaluation scores. Two‐level multilevel models, nesting students within classrooms, tended to show higher mean achievement in classrooms taught by teachers of higher than lower quality, with differences of approximately one‐tenth of 1 standard deviation. Findings relating teacher quality to closing within‐classroom achievement gaps, though, were mixed. Implications are discussed related to teacher evaluation, teacher quality, and educational inequality.