Identifying Good Teachers: Expert vs. Ordinary Knowledge


  • David Casalaspi Michigan State University
  • Ethan Hutt University of Maryland, College Park
  • Jack Schneider College of Holy Cross



accountability, parents, teachers, testing, value-added


While much has been written about the effects of standardized testing on student achievement, less work has addressed how this information is taken up by parents.  Drawing on the results of a survey of 286 parents in a diverse urban school district, our research illuminates three aspects of parental response to test score information and efforts to link that information to teacher quality concerns: 1.) How parents relate various teacher traits to quality teaching; 2.) How parents know if their child has a good teacher; and 3.) How parents think teachers should be evaluated. We find that test score data are perceived as both imperfect and incomplete with regard to measuring teacher quality and that parents often rely more on “ordinary” forms of knowledge.  This raises questions about the value of existing standardized test score data as an informational spur to reform.

Author Biographies

David Casalaspi, Michigan State University

David Casalaspi is a doctoral candidate in Michigan State University’s Educational Policy Program.  He has a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia.

Ethan Hutt, University of Maryland, College Park

Ethan Hutt is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Maryland. His current book project is The Least They Can Do: A History of Minimum Standards in American Education.

Jack Schneider, College of Holy Cross

Jack Schneider is an Assistant Professor of Education at the College of the Holy Cross and the author of two books: Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools (Vanderbilt) and From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education (Harvard Education).




How to Cite

Casalaspi, D., Hutt, E., & Schneider, J. (2018). Identifying Good Teachers: Expert vs. Ordinary Knowledge. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 13(4).