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Warren Institute Theories of Action for Teacher Effectiveness

At the recent Civil Rights Research Roundtable, convened by the Warren Institute, researchers
proposed very different answers and often viewed their theories of action as mutually exclusive. Two
major theories of action emerged at the roundtable, as reported by the Annenberg Institute for School
Reform (AISR) executive director Warren Simmons:

Performance Management Theory of Action This lens emphasizes the importance of teachers
educational background (SAT scores, class ranking in college) and performance characteristics (e.g.,
value-added contributions to student achievement, based on standardized test scores and
compensation and evaluation histories) to describe teacher effectiveness. Furthermore, the
performance management perspective tends to treat effective teaching as an individual endeavor and
thus seeks solutions focused on enhancing the identification and distribution of effective teachers in
high-minority, high-poverty schools.

With this lens, the social, racial, cultural, cognitive, and linguistic histories and characteristics of
students, practitioners, and communities are secondary, if not tertiary, considerations to
understanding variations in teacher effectiveness. The reasoning of the performance management
TOA goes something like this: If compensation and evaluation are tied to student achievement data,
and schools are given the flexibility and authority to hire, assign, and fire teachers, and districts or
systems are freed to reward effective schools and close low-performing schools, then teacher
effectiveness will increase, along with student performance.

Capacity Building Theory of Action The other research voice and TOA present at the meeting
grew out of an emphasis on the importance of instructional capacity building and the use of practice-
centered criteria grounded in research on teaching and learning to define the characteristics of
effective teaching. This research underscores the importance of pedagogical content knowledge;
classroom management skills; understanding of students social, cultural, and economic
backgrounds; understanding of cognitive and human development; ability to collaborate with peers;
and ability to cultivate partnerships with parents and the broader community as critical components of
effective teaching.

The instructional capacity-building TOA reasons that if schools and school districts provide supports
that build the capacity of teachers to address the elements of effective teaching, then student
performance will increase and achievement gaps will narrow.
(Semi Structured Interview)
Estremos, Jhaztiz
Flores, Andrea
Madelo, Christen May
Tampus, Cathlyn

Before proceeding to the interview, the interviewers will briefly orient the respondents on Warren
Simmons Theories of Action. After which, the interview shall then take place.

For teachers and school administrators/ district heads:

1. Which of the two theories do you think is best suited for ineffective teachers?

2. How is the Performance Management Lens reflected upon teachers?

3. How is the Capacity Building Lens reflected upon teachers?

4. If both of the theories are successfully applied on teachers, how do you think will it affect the
student-teacher relationship in the classroom context?

5. What should be the administrations role in the treatment of ineffective teaching?

6. What should be the teachers role in the treatment of ineffective teaching?

7. What makes a particular teacher competent and incompetent?

8. Is there any flaw in each theory?

9. Which of the coined phrases building ones capacity & managing ones performance is
more vital to the assessment of effective teaching?