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A correlational study of the ventures for excellence interview-rating system and first year teacher evaluations

Dissertation
Author: Brian Lee Clemons
Abstract:
Research suggests that the character traits of a teacher seem to be an important element in student learning. Thus, when administrators make hiring decisions, they often utilize instruments to assess candidates' character traits. However, limited information exists on the identification of character traits as they relate to quality teachers and the accuracy of character interview-rating systems. Therefore, this study evaluates the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating systems for their ability to accurately assess the character traits of teacher candidates. The purpose of this study was to conduct a correlation study of Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and teacher evaluations. Data were collected from 79 teachers employed in the Wentzville School District located in Wentzville, Missouri. Prior to employment, each teacher was given the Ventures for Excellence interview that assessed character traits. These data were analyzed to determine if the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system successfully predicted the quality of teachers, as measured by scores on the Ventures for Excellence interview and summative first-year teacher evaluations. The results of this study yielded no positive correlation and, therefore, indicated no significant relationship between a teachers' performance on the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and their ability to be a successful teacher. However, it was evident that quality teachers possess certain character traits that enhance performance in the classroom. Continued research might yield better character rating systems for predicting quality teachers. Further studies of teachers with the desired character traits could reveal better information to help develop more successful character rating systems in the future. It is recommended that administrators and human resource personnel implement procedures to evaluate teacher candidates on a more personal basis rather than simply making assessment through their applications, references, resumes and standardized interviews. As history has proven, a single teacher can determine a child's profession, standard of living, or even his or her quality of life. It is vital that teachers are selected in a manner that identifies the most effective qualities in all levels of learning, including (a) academic development, (b) moral development, (c) character development, and (d) social development.

v Table of Contents

List of Tables ..................................................................................................................... vii List of Figures ................................................................................................................... viii Chapter I - Overview of The Study...................................................................................... 1 Background .............................................................................................................. 1 Problem Statement ................................................................................................... 5 Rationale .................................................................................................................. 6 Independent Variables .............................................................................................. 8 Dependent Variables ................................................................................................ 8 Null Hypothesis........................................................................................................ 8 Limitations ............................................................................................................... 8 Instrumentation threat .................................................................................. 9 History threat .............................................................................................. 10 Selection threat ........................................................................................... 10 Testing threat .............................................................................................. 10 Summary ................................................................................................................ 11 Chapter II - Review of Literature .......................................................................................12 Teacher Quality. .....................................................................................................13 Teacher Effectiveness. ...........................................................................................16 Teacher Characteristics. .........................................................................................19 Interview-rating Systems to Select Quality Teachers. ...........................................29 Recruitment and Retention.....................................................................................37

vi Summary. ...............................................................................................................40 Chapter III - Method ............................... ........................................................................... 41 Participants ............................................................................................................. 42 Sampling Procedures.............................................................................................. 45 External Validity .................................................................................................... 45 Research Setting ..................................................................................................... 46 Rsearch Design/Procedure ..................................................................................... 47 Instrumentation ...................................................................................................... 48 Reliability and Validity .......................................................................................... 50 Summary ................................................................................................................ 50 Chapter IV - Results........................................................................................................... 52 Results of Analysis................................................................................................. 52 Summary ................................................................................................................ 62 Chapter V - Discussion ................................................................................................... 664 Recommendations ................................................................................................ 664 References ......................................... ................................................................................. 71 Appendix A: Ventures for Excellence Theme for Excellent Teachers .............................. 79 Appendix B: Request Letter to Use Data from the Wentzville School District ................ 84 Appendix C: Letter of Permission to Use Data from the Wentzville School District ....... 85 Appendix D: Wentzville School District Teacher Evaluation Report ............................... 86 Appendix E: Wentzville School District Formative Evaluation… .................................... 97 Appendix F: Wentzville School District Summative Evaluation … ............................... 102 Vitae ................................................................................................................................. 108

vii

List of Tables Table 1: Key Words Used to Describe Effective Classroom Teachers ............................... 3 Table 2: How Students Achievement is Affected by Teachers ......................................... 18 Table 3: Effects of Least Effective and Most Effective Teachers Over a 3-Year Span .... 19 Table 4: Certification Status of Teachers in the Wentzville School District ..................... 44 Table 5: Point Value Arrangement of Evaluaiton Tool ..................................................... 48 Table 6: Statistical Analysis of Teachers Character and Abilities ..................................... 53 Table 7: Recommendation for Improving the Teacher Candidate Selection Process ……67

viii

List of Figures Figure 1: Line plot of summative evaluation scores and Ventures for Excellence scores........................................................................................................................... …...54 Figure 2: Line plot of teaching techniques scores and Ventures for Excellence Scores...55 Figure 3: Line plot of classroom management scores and Ventures for Excellence scores..56 Figure 4: Line plot of professional responsibilities scores and Ventures for Excellence scores.................................................................................................................................. 56 Figure 5: Line plot of interpersonal relationships scores and Ventures for Excellence scores.................................................................................................................................. 57 Figure 6: Line plot of elementary school teachers’ summative evaluation scores and Ventures for Excellence scores. ......................................................................................... 59 Figure 7: Line plot of middle school teachers’ summative evaluation scores and Ventures for Excellence scores ......................................................................................................... 60 Figure 8: Line plot of high school teachers’ summative evaluation scores and Ventures for Excellence scores ......................................................................................................... 61

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Chapter I – Overview of Study

Background Administrators have always searched for ways to assess teacher candidates to be able to select teachers who will enhance school climate and increase student achievement. In today’s economic climate, school districts may receive hundreds of applications for a single posting. In the endeavor to select the best candidates to fill teaching positions, administrators used a variety of methods, ranging in complexity from one-on-one interviews to sophisticated rating systems. As discussed by Ryan and Alcock (2002), a recent shift occurred in the identification process of teacher candidates. This shift started a pattern of rating teacher candidates based on their character traits. Previously teachers were rated according to pedigree, interviewing skills, and professional experience. According to Ryan and Alcock, effective teaching wa s considered teacher-directed in the 1980s. After the shift, however, effective teaching was considered student-centered, process-centered, and reflective (Ryan & Alcock). This shift, created a new process of teacher evaluation that focused on teacher characteristics and student centered outcomes. Research from Sanders and Rivers (1996) found that a teacher with the certain character traits could enhance student academic achievement. Thus, an assessment of character traits was added to the process of selecting and assessing quality teacher candidates, including scrutiny of each of the following: (a) job application, (b) resume, (c) letters of recommendation, (d) transcript, and (e) interview performance. In many school districts, the human resource department screens teacher candidates through the application process with a set of targeted standards. For example,

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school districts may select candidates by content knowledge (a major or minor in the subject area to be taught), grade point average, paper pencil tests, or pedagogical preparation (e.g., a specific number of instructional methods courses taken) (Darling- Hammond & Youngs, 2002). These traditional interviewing techniques, intended to predict teaching effectiveness in terms of student achievement, did not produce the desired outcome (Darling-Hammond & Youngs). Further, a principal’s professional judgment was considered crucial in determining the best teacher candidates (Darling- Hammond & Youngs; McEwan, 2002; Stronge, 2002). Yet, these elements are difficult to a ssess consistently. As the trend of selecting teacher candidates based on their character traits has grown in popularity, companies such as Ventures for Excellence and Teacher Insight Gallop Organization are training administrators to assess teacher candidates’ character traits. The Ventures for Excellence interview identifies common characteristics of a quality candidate, such as (a) compassion towards others, (b) a positive personality, (c) an investing nature, (d) a commitment to others, (e) ability to communicate, (f) personality, (g) ability to generate ideas, and (h) ability to motivate others (Ventures for Excellence, Inc., 1999). The Ventures for Excellence is a set of open-ended interview questions where teacher candidates are rated on their answers. The purpose of this type of interview is to identify the character traits of teacher candidates and make a prediction of their teaching qualities. The Further Insight into Teacher Talents and Teacher Insight, much like the Ventures for Excellence interview, is an assessment tool that seeks an understanding of unique talents in the candidates (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). Each of

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these interview-rating systems was designed to accurately predict the character traits of a quality teacher. Those predictions are then used to select quality teachers. Haberman (1995) posited that a direct link existed between successful teaching and a teacher’s character traits. It was theorized that teacher candidates with suitable personal/interpersonal attributes would be quality teachers and remain in the teaching profession. Research was conducted on the character traits of teachers that made them successful in the classroom. Table 1 illustrates key words that have been used to describe effective classroom teachers. Table 1 Key Words Used To Describe Effective Classroom Teachers Accepting Creative Loving Promoters of learning Competitive Persistent Compassionate Knowledgeable Effective disciplinarians Enthusiastic Caring Professional Empathic Flexible Demanding Goal Oriented Note. From Star Teacher of Children in Poverty (p. 5), by M. Haberman, 1995, West Lafayette, IN: Kappa Delta Pi.

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Quality teachers demonstrate character traits that promote effective teaching in the classroom. The key words in Table 1 provide insight into quality teachers and are used to describe their effectiveness. Reed, Bergemann, Segall and Wilson (as cited in Minor, Onwuegbuzie, Witcher, & James, 2002) found that certain key words commonly and accurately described successful teachers, such as knowledgeable, self-confident, and enthusiastic. Successful teachers approach curriculum development and instruction innovatively. Such teachers resourcefully solve problems on a routine basis. As the qualities of a successful teacher are further understood, the rating systems become further refined to assess these qualities. With greater expectations for schools and districts to perform at mandated levels, it becomes even more crucial to recruit quality teachers. Since the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act, all states initiated standard-based reform leading to the development of statewide standards and goals in core subject areas. States raced to develop tests that would measure student progress towards achieving these academic goals at varied grade levels. Administrators worked diligently to evaluate and assist poorly performing teachers with the intention of moving teachers toward higher teaching- skill levels. Teacher performance can be directly correlated to student achievement (Marzano, 2003). Evaluation tools could be used to evaluate teacher performance officially and to help teachers grow professionally. The Wentzville School District utilizes two different evaluation instruments to evaluate teacher performance (see Appendices D and E). Every new teacher in the Wentzville School District is observed and formally evaluated three times during their first year of employment. These formative evaluations (a tool used to evaluate teachers

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on a quarterly basis) are compiled into a Summative Evaluation (a tool used to combine formative evaluations into one yearly evaluation). Each of these instruments was designed from a committee of central office administrators, principals, and teachers. The Formative Evaluation and Summative Evaluation instruments were designed to document teacher performance in the Wentzville School District with the intent of guiding teacher professional development. The purpose of collecting the research for this study was to determine whether it was possible to predict teacher effectiveness using standardized character trait rating systems. If educator effectiveness could be predicted by analyzing character traits, then it might be the case that teacher performance reflects this effectiveness in teacher evaluations. Problem Statement T he problem was that limited information existed on the identification of character traits as they related to quality teachers and the accuracy of character interview- rating systems. Information was gathered, from the Wentzville School District, to assess the success of the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and its ability to accurately assess the character traits of teacher candidates. The participants in this project were teacher candidates who were interviewed and employed by Wentzville School District in a teaching position. First-year teachers in the Wentzville School District were assessed using the Ventures for Excellence teacher candidate interview-rating system at the time of hiring. The same teachers were assessed during their first year of teaching with three Formative Evaluations and a Summative Evaluation. Appendix D and E are copies of the Wentzville School District’s Formative and Summative Evaluation. These

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formative evaluations were compiled to generate a Summative Evaluation. Data were gathered and analyzed to determine if there was a relationship between the teacher candidate character rating system score and the end of first-year Summative Evaluations. The results of the study examined may help develop further understanding of character traits and qualities of excellent teachers. Rationale for Study The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of the Ventures for Excellence character rating system to predict first-year teachers’ success evidenced by teacher Summative Evaluations. Although the No Child Left Behind Act requires quality teachers in modern schools, ways in which to find the best candidates remain largely unanswered. Teacher selection is crucial in the process of building a school climate and increasing student performance (Marzano, 2003). This study provided information related to the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and how it measures character traits as a predictor for selecting quality teachers. With standards that schools are expected to meet from the No Child Left Behind Act, it seems to be even more important to find quality teachers. States are required, by the No Child Left Behind Act, to develop tests that measure student progress at various grade levels to evaluate their understanding and their ability to apply educational goals; thus, it is logical that developing assessment measures for quality teachers should become a goal for the state education system. Administrators work diligently to evaluate and assist inadequate teachers to perform at higher skill levels. Administrators know the negative effects of selecting the wrong or below average candidate for a teaching position. Such selection impacts the school climate, school district finances, and the overall performance within the school.

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School resources such as a principal’s time, financial allocations for professional development, and mentoring time must be used to modify teacher effectiveness with the intention of decreasing deficiencies. Selection of a quality candidate could save teachers and administrators the time and energy invested in individual professional development. Selecting a successful teacher candidate could minimize costs by eliminating the need for a termination process. The non-renewal process can be expensive and arduous. The process of non-renewal involves numerous district employees’ time and energy, costs for professional development, and possible litigation fees. Therefore, the information gathered from this study could be valuable to school districts, pre-service teachers, businesses that deal with educating students, and organizations that are developing character interviewing-rating systems. This information may assist in the development of future character rating systems and new district evaluation tools that could lead school districts and businesses to select better quality employees. The Ventures for Excellence Company postulates that teachers who display the appropriate character traits (compassionate, enthusiastic, goal oriented, etc.) have higher potential (Ventures for Excellence, Inc., 2008). If a character evaluation survey were able to predict these types of character traits accurately, perhaps administrators would have an effective tool in the teacher selection process. Character trait surveys reveal more information about candidates than their job application, résumés, letters of recommendation, or transcripts may convey. With this information, administrators can assess teacher candidates with the intention of selecting those that will enhance their school climate and the overall effectiveness as it relates to student achievement. It seems

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logical to think that when quality teachers are employed initially, less time is spent on correcting teacher deficiencies. This means more time could be devoted to increasing the overall performance of the student population. Independent Variables The independent variable was the subjects’ scores on the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system. The subjects had taught in the Wentzville School District for one year. Dependent Variables The dependent variable was the quality of teacher performance as noted in their Summative Evaluations. The Wentzville’s Summative Evaluation instrument was the tool used to determine teacher effectiveness. Null Hypothesis The null hypothesis was there will be no significant correlation between the Ventures for Excellence teacher interview-rating scale score and the success of first-year teachers based on their evaluation. The alternative hypothesis was there will be a positive significant correlation between the Ventures for Excellence teacher interview-rating scale score and the success of first-year teachers based on their evaluation. Limitations Limitations, which might affect applying the findings to a larger population of teacher candidates, were the different teacher characteristics held by elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. Commonly, teachers select teaching positions according to their comfort level with the position offered and their ability to work with a team or

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grade level. Therefore, teachers that teach at different grade levels might comparatively have varying characteristics that could influence the Ventures for Excellence rating score. An additional limitation was a possible lack in interview consistency. The level of accuracy and understanding of an interview tool had a determining factor on a candidate’s overall score. This was true for the interview process using the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating scale. Different interviewers and their levels of competency might have affected the accuracy of the overall conclusion, despite administrator training by the company. An additional limitation to the study was the lack of research on poorly rated interviewees. Since candidates that performed poorly on the Ventures for Excellence were not employed by the Wentzville School District, this information was absent in the collection of data. Other limitations, which might affect applying the findings, were the number of participates involved in the study and the demographics of the district. Additional school districts and a larger group of participants would allow for additional data. Instrumentation threat. Instrumentation threat might have presented a risk to the internal validity of the study because administrative evaluation techniques differ. This variable could have indirectly impacted the instrumentation (rating on teacher summative evaluation) used to determine the relationship between the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and the Summative Evaluation of the teachers. Different evaluators and their levels of competency might have affected the accuracy of the overall evaluation, despite administrator training by the Wentzville School District.

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An additional instrumentation threat could have been a possible lack in consistency of conducted interviews. The level of accuracy and understanding of an interview tool had a determining factor on a candidate’s overall score. This was true for the interview process using the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating scale. Different interviewers and their levels of competency might have affected the accuracy of the overall conclusion. History threat. An outside event or occurrence might have affected the dependent variable. Life changes, such as pregnancy, divorce, marriage or other stressors, could affect the performance of teachers and, thus, impact their teaching performance and their Summative Evaluations. These outside occurrences may also affect teacher candidates’ abilities to perform well on the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating scale. Selection threat. A selection threat existed when taking into consideration the various job descriptions of the population for the study. Teachers selected varied in gender, education, backgrounds, teaching experiences, expertise, and personality traits required for the position. Each position would be considered unique and would require the correct teacher for the position. These factors may require a teacher who is qualified for one position, but not for another. These factors were not taken into consideration. Testing threat. A testing threat could have occurred when the Ventures for Excellence tool was administered. The Ventures for Excellence organization trained and certified each administrator in the Wentzville School District. However, human error might have caused variability in the rating process. Each interviewer would still be considered unique and slight interviewing difference may cause a difference in the rating.

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Summary As expectations rise for increased student performance, so does the need for administrators to find the most effective teachers. Administrators continue to search for ways to assess teacher candidates accurately for success, as determined by increased student achievement. In seeking these candidates, administrators use a variety of methods, including traditional ones, which range in complexity from one-on-one interviews to sophisticated rating systems. However, the process of selecting and assessing quality teacher candidates continues to rely on (a) job applications, (b) resumes, (c) letters of recommendation, (d) transcripts, and (e) interview performances. The purpose of this study was to determine whether it was possible to predict teacher effectiveness using standardized character trait rating systems. Sophisticated rating scales, such as the Ventures for Excellence, have been the most recent trend for teacher selection. The Ventures for Excellence was developed to accurately predict teacher success. These Ventures for Excellence selection tool scores are then considered as factors in the determination of quality teacher candidates in the teacher selection process. The scores of the Ventures for Excellence were used to determine which candidates would progress in the interviewing process. If educator effectiveness could be predicted by analyzing character traits and the Ventures for Excellence is an accurate tool, then administrators could select better quality teachers to enhance the school climate and increase student achievement.

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Chapter II – Review of Literature With the continued pressure from federal and state mandates for the No Child Left Behind Act, school personnel feel pressure to recruit teacher candidates with the right character traits as well as academic qualifications. When the goal is to improve student achievement, it seems important for school district personnel to find the best means for effectively assessing teacher candidates. To this end, administrators employ a variety of methods to recruit and retain quality teachers. It has been the researcher’s experience that the newest methods administrators use to determine quality candidates are interview- rating systems that evaluate the character of pre-service teachers. Cawelti (1999) established that family involvement, curriculum, funding, student- to-teacher ratio, and other factors contribute to school improvement and student achievement. Stronge and Tucker (2000) (as cited in Stronge & Hindman, 2003) indicated the single most influential school-based decision was hiring qualified teacher candidates with characteristics that would make them successful. However, the term highly qualified teachers has not been clearly defined, but would require a teacher candidate to pass state examines and have a state teaching certificate. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required that school districts employ only highly qualified teachers by the 2005-2006 school year in order to receive federal funding (U. S. Department of Education, 2008). Research in this area demonstrated that teacher quality was a significant educational factor in predicting student achievement. However, according to Sanders & Topping (1999), the question of how to define a highly qualified teacher was subjective and heavily debated by the United States Department of Education, school districts, and educators. Nevertheless, the impact of highly qualified

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teachers on school quality was indisputable (Sanders, & Topping; Scheerens, & Bosker, 1997; Sanders, & Rivers, 1996; Sanders, & Horn, 1995). Teacher Quality Quality teachers are recognized as vital components of school quality. According to Thompson, Greer, and Greer (2008), data were collected from state departments of education, institutions of higher learning, school districts around the world, and professional education organizations with the goal of identifying and defining what made highly qualified teachers. Each of these organizations agreed that highly qualified teachers were essential in determining school quality; however, identifying essential components that made quality teachers was challenging and differed from one organization to the other (Thompson et al.). It seems that quality teachers have an impact on school quality, but research differs, slightly, on the essential components of a quality teacher. After analyzing research focused on the theme of quality teachers, many diverse theories, ranging from character, morals, and beliefs to experience, degrees, and types of certifications, were discovered in determining the criteria for successful teachers. In the 1990s, researchers suggested that it was critical for persons to possess the right character traits as well as the correct pedagogy to be effective as teachers. Effective teachers do need appropriate training and pedagogy to be successful, but effective teachers must possess the appropriate character traits to build connections with students as well. There was concern that teachers that had only the correct training in learning theories and effective practices could develop as knowledgeable but ineffective educators (Berry, 2003; Yero, 2001).

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Thompson et al. (2008) surveyed university students to determine the character traits of quality teachers they noted from personal experiences. Their study found twelve characteristics of quality teachers: (a) fairness, (b) having a positive outlook, (c) being prepared, (d) using a personal touch, (e) possessing a sense of humor, (f) possessing creativity, (g) admitting mistakes, (h) being forgiving, (i) respecting students, (j) maintaining high expectations, (k) showing compassion, and (l) developing a sense of belonging for students. Essential characteristics of quality teachers were derived from these surveys, which allow further understating of effective teachers. Other studies found a positive influence between teacher effectiveness and required coursework. Teacher readiness in education coursework area as well as degrees and training revealed significant effectiveness in teacher performance (Begle, 1979; Darling-Hammond, 1999; Evertson, Hawley, & Zlotnik, 1985; Rice, 2003; Stronge, Tucker, & Hindman, 2004; U. S. Department of Education, 2003). Further research (Goldhaber & Brewer, 2000; Greenwald, Hedges, & Laine, 1996; Monk, 1994; Monk, & King, 1994; Rowan, Chiang, & Miller, 1997; Rowan, Correnti, & Miller, 2002) indicated that teacher experience and knowledge increased student achievement. Goldhaber and Brewer identified a positive connection between student achievement and teachers’ training and pedagogy. It would seem that requiring the proper course work and training for teachers would be beneficial in developing quality teachers. Teacher certification is no guarantee of teacher quality, unfortunately, and requirements often vary widely from state to state. According to Lasley, Bainbridge, and Berry (2002), as more highly qualified teachers were needed to improve the quality of education students receive, so did the need arise to delineate the type of pedagogy,

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training, and experience that should be required. Lasley, et al. offered the following explanation for the division of understanding that occurred when policy makers established criteria for teacher certification: There is a clear ideological divide on the view of teaching and teachers. On the one hand, some view teaching as highly complex work and teachers as knowledgeable professionals who require formal, specialized preparation and considerable autonomy. Others, however, view teaching as more routine work that reasonably smart people can perform and would do so more readily if misguided government or professional regulations would not limit their entry into the field. (p. 14) As the need for more quality teachers grows so does the need for understanding what makes a quality teacher. Administrators debate if a teacher’s level of training and pedagogy or level of intelligence is the most important factor in determining a quality teacher. It is the author’s belief that each of these categories (intelligence, training, and pedagogy) plays an important part in the success of a teacher. However, much more should be considered in determining what makes a quality teacher. A teacher’s character traits, relationship skills, and ability to communicate with other are only some of the other categories that determine the effectiveness of a teacher. In October 2002, the United States Department of Education hosted the Student Achievement and School Accountability conference to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. The goals of the conference were to provide states and school districts with information and tools to implement the No Child Left Behind Act. A significant part of the conference focused on what it meant to be a highly qualified teacher in the United

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States. The United States Department of Education (2002) defined a highly qualified teacher as one who “(a) holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, (b) has obtained full state certification or licensure, and (c) has demonstrated subject area competence in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches” (p. 3). Defining highly qualified teachers has been the focus of the United States Department of Education in an endeavor to improve student achievement. Student achievement, along with school accountability, is the essence of the No Child Left Behind Act. Teacher Effectiveness As teachers are held to higher standards in levels of student achievement, the focus of teacher effectiveness becomes more significant. Marzano (2003) reported evidence showing that ineffective teaching might have an ongoing impact on student achievement levels. According to Marzano, elementary age students who were taught by ineffective teachers for several years in a row scored significantly lower on standardized tests than students taught by highly effective teachers. Further, Marzano found that students with an ineffective teacher for several consecutive years had decreased chances to maintain or advance their scores on standardized tests. According to Wright, Horn, and Sanders (1997), students placed with highly effective teachers for three consecutive years, beginning in third grade, scored 52 percentile points higher on standardized tests than did students with similar achievement histories that were in classrooms with low-performing teachers for three years consecutively. The researchers noted the following regarding their study: The results of this study will document that the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. In addition, the results show wide variation in

Full document contains 120 pages
Abstract: Research suggests that the character traits of a teacher seem to be an important element in student learning. Thus, when administrators make hiring decisions, they often utilize instruments to assess candidates' character traits. However, limited information exists on the identification of character traits as they relate to quality teachers and the accuracy of character interview-rating systems. Therefore, this study evaluates the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating systems for their ability to accurately assess the character traits of teacher candidates. The purpose of this study was to conduct a correlation study of Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and teacher evaluations. Data were collected from 79 teachers employed in the Wentzville School District located in Wentzville, Missouri. Prior to employment, each teacher was given the Ventures for Excellence interview that assessed character traits. These data were analyzed to determine if the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system successfully predicted the quality of teachers, as measured by scores on the Ventures for Excellence interview and summative first-year teacher evaluations. The results of this study yielded no positive correlation and, therefore, indicated no significant relationship between a teachers' performance on the Ventures for Excellence interview-rating system and their ability to be a successful teacher. However, it was evident that quality teachers possess certain character traits that enhance performance in the classroom. Continued research might yield better character rating systems for predicting quality teachers. Further studies of teachers with the desired character traits could reveal better information to help develop more successful character rating systems in the future. It is recommended that administrators and human resource personnel implement procedures to evaluate teacher candidates on a more personal basis rather than simply making assessment through their applications, references, resumes and standardized interviews. As history has proven, a single teacher can determine a child's profession, standard of living, or even his or her quality of life. It is vital that teachers are selected in a manner that identifies the most effective qualities in all levels of learning, including (a) academic development, (b) moral development, (c) character development, and (d) social development.