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Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School

reviewed by Amy M. Roberts & Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch - February 23, 2015

coverTitle: Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School
Author(s): Dale S. Rose, Andrew English, & Treena Gillespie Finney
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 1612506399, Pages: 272, Year: 2014
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Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School is a valuable resource for those seeking to make more effective hiring decisions in education. Specifically, this book details how to use standardized, thoughtful, and unbiased hiring methods. By utilizing research-based approaches shown to relate to teacher effectiveness, the authors make a convincing case that hiring better teachers will ultimately lead to improved student outcomes.  

This book provides a detailed, step-by-step guide for navigating the intricacies of the hiring process to find the best teachers. The first three chapters provide core concepts and best practices in hiring. Chapter One highlights the critical nature of research on schools, stresses the importance of teachers for student learning, and illustrates how one poor hiring decision can result in detrimental consequences for students and the system as a whole. Chapter Two outlines an effective teacher needs-assessment, and highlights essential knowledge, skills, abilities, and characteristics of effective teachers. These attributes fall into five key areas: designing and implementing effective strategies to develop learners, creating and maintaining a positive and safe learning environment, evaluating data, demonstrating professionalism, and performing administrative responsibilities. To round out the exploration of core concepts, Chapter Three examines factors in hiring selection tools. Here, the authors emphasize the need for valid and reliable tools; in layman’s terms, they discuss how to assess these key measurement characteristics. Further, this chapter suggests the idea of a hiring funnel: expending the least resources first, and then applying more intensive selection tools as the applicant pool narrows.

Throughout the next five chapters, the authors provide a detailed discussion on how to build a highly reliable and valid hiring process. Chapter Four addresses how to get the most from application forms. The authors provide a clear rationale for taking the time to design application forms that act as an initial screen. They also offer rich examples that can be added to any application form to gather helpful information on whether a candidate might be a good fit. Next, Chapter Five explores how to predict performance through workplace samples. The chapter includes a comprehensive review, examples of work samples, and recommendations on how to use subject matter experts to create valid and reliable work sample scoring rubrics. Chapter Six addresses adding structure to interviews, across different interview settings. Chapter Seven explores how to design valid teacher observation protocols. The discussion includes the importance of using standardized measures to assess teaching practice, as well as the critical nature of training to ensure measurement validity. Last, Chapter Eight examines how to combine results to make final hiring recommendations, and compares different data aggregation approaches to make the best decisions possible.

Finally, the last two chapters explore how to maximize the hiring budget, and suggest practical solutions for some of the most common challenges schools face. Specifically, Chapter Nine addresses budget decisions, and suggests three key levels of improvement to consider based on available resources. The authors urgently recommend that districts consider adding standardization to their current hiring process, and propose how districts can use new tools to identify previously untapped competency areas. Finally, Chapter Ten addresses common challenges in maintaining a valid, reliable system.

The material presented in this volume goes beyond simply telling you what to do, but also offers practical advice on how to do it. For instance, figures are included throughout the book, offering clear examples of hiring documents (e.g., note taking sheets for structured interviews). This level of detail provides practical, relevant ideas for implementing the suggested hiring practices. The authors also acknowledge that one-size does not fit all, and so various strategies that allow for personalization are also provided. Throughout the book, the authors remind the reader to approach the material as a framework, and to customize as necessary. For example, the chapter on budget decisions appropriately acknowledges that not all schools have superfluous resources to devote to hiring strategies, and the authors present various techniques that can be used on different budgets—even the most scant.

The material presented in this book is consistently accessible. Real-world examples make the information digestible to a wide range of readers, and the authors do an excellent job of translating mathematical jargon into practical terms. As a result, readers with varying levels of familiarity with statistical concepts can use this book. The accessibility of the content, as well as the level of detail provided, makes this book particularly useful to those who are not as familiar with the hiring process in education. For those who have already developed expertise in this area, this book could be used to reevaluate their current hiring process in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Overall, Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School represents a valuable resource for schools and districts that wish to develop or improve teacher hiring systems.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: February 23, 2015
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17867, Date Accessed: 12/3/2021 8:13:13 AM

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About the Author
  • Amy Roberts
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    AMY M. ROBERTS is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at the University of Virginia. Her research interests focus broadly on issues pertaining to teacher quality. Her most recent publication focused on identifying teacher and environmental characteristics that related to teachers’ uptake of a professional development intervention. She is currently working on several professional development projects at UVA, and is particularly interested in how teacher well-being affects teachers’ practices.
  • Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER LOCASALE-CROUCH, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Her areas of expertise include measuring key aspects of classroom interactions that support children’s social and academic outcomes, professional development that enables teachers to engage in more effective classroom interactions, and ways to implement professional development supports with high degrees of fidelity.
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