Teacher Quality: Literature Review and Policy Directions
Author: Yael Navon and Yossi Shavit Policy Research

Research indicates the importance of teachers in impacting their pupils’ achievements.

However, the specific teacher characteristics that affect achievements are not known.  Thus, it is unclear how to improve the quality of teachers.  Some suggest changes in the selection criteria of teachers; others believe that pay incentives would motivate skilled teachers to enter and remain in the profession.  Studies of the effectiveness of economic incentives on teacher efficacy yield mixed results.  Israeli studies indicate the positive influence of individual and group economic incentives on student achievement in the matriculation exams.  In contrast, studies in other countries have found that economic incentives do not have a significant influence on pupil achievement.  In the past decade the education system in Israel has undergone two reforms – Ofek Hadash and Oz LeTemurah.  The reforms include, amongst other things, incentives by way of a salary rise, performance-based bonuses and new career ladders.  These reforms included promising components as well as possible pitfalls that are discussed in the paper.  Finally, there is a call for an evaluation of these programs in an attempt to assess the impact of their components on pupil achievement and on teacher motivation, morale and performance.

This paper appears in the Center’s annual publication State of the Nation Report – Society, Economy and Policy 2011-2012.

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