Teacher quality

Hal Varian (NY Times) reports on a study of teacher effectiveness. An unsurprising finding was that some teachers are more effective at improving student test scores than others.

What was surprising is that

easily observable characteristics like having a master's degree or a passing score on the teacher certification exam are not correlated with teacher effectiveness.

This reminds me of something I read some time ago about there being only a 2 % correlation between MBA GPAs and their success in business. More than textbook knowledge, social skills played a role in being successful. If something similar is at work here, then shouldn't education schools help their students learn what will make them effective teachers?

Varian cited the report's finding that the "most important single influence is experience," although it isn't clear whether that means that teachers learn by doing or ineffective teachers quit teaching.

Of course, it could be a combination of both. Still, these results indicate, at least to me, more apprenticeship and less theory (not none) is one approach education schools should take. The other indication, which I mention in the previous post, is one in which I'm not sure that education schools can play much of a role. That is, effective teachers are those who sincerely care for their students and have a considerable amount of patience in working with them.