Is Teacher Effectiveness the Only Important Metric for Education Policy?

Teacher effectiveness is a judgement made on how effective teachers are at their job. Thanks to some complex statistical analysis, we have been able to find out exactly how much the results of students in education is influenced by the quality of their teachers, such as with examinations of standardised tests.

Teacher effectiveness is championed by a lot of education reformers as the area of education policy which should be targeted and focussed upon for improvement, but if you examine the totality of what statistics of education results show, then you can see how other areas hold as much or more influence. Take child poverty as an example; this brings with a whole host of problems which ultimately become a teachers responsibility, and while a good teacher can overcome some of these issues, it is well outside of anybody’s capabilities to do this reliably and on mass.

If you look at the examples set by some of the most widely acclaimed education departments, then you can see a trend beyond simply managing and improving upon teacher effectiveness. Finland for instance; uses a number of public policies to ensure that children aren’t too disadvantaged, and rather than placing the focus on teachers and their individual efforts (like in teacher reviews) they focus on reviewing the efforts of schools as a whole, viewing the efforts of individuals with the understanding that they are part of a team.