Vol. 13 No. 4 (2018): Identifying Good Teachers: Expert Versus Ordinary Knowledge

While much has been written about the effects of standardized testing on student achievement, less work has addressed how parents take up this information. Drawing on a survey of 286 parents in a diverse urban school district, this research illuminates three aspects of parental response to test score information: 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. Results show 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 test data as an informational spur to reform.

Published: 2018-05-09

Policy and Leadership