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At NCES Conference, Empirical Education Explains a Difficulty in Linking Student and Teacher Records

The San Francisco Bay Area, our “home town”, was the site for the 2008 National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) conference. From February 25 to 29, educators and researchers from all over the country came to discuss data collection and analysis. Laurel Sterling and Robert Smith of Empirical Education presented “Tracking Teachers of Instruction for Data Accuracy and Improving Educational Outcomes”. Their topic was the need to differentiate between, the teachers who actually perform instruction for students and the teachers with whom those students are officially registered. They explained that in our research we keep track of the “teacher of instruction” vs. “teacher of registration”. Without this distinction we are unable to properly identify the student clusters or associate student growth with the right teacher. Sharing instructional responsibilities within a grade-level team is common enough to be of concern. In a large experiment involving teachers in grades 4 through 8, 17% reported teaching students who were not assigned to them on the official class roster. The audience was very lively and in the question period contributed to the topic. One district IT manager indicated that there is movement in this direction even at the state level. For a copy of the presentation, send an email to Robin Means.