Equitable Distribution: Indiana

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


The state should publicly report districts' distribution of teacher talent among schools to identify inequities in schools serving disadvantaged children.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Equitable Distribution: Indiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/IN-Equitable-Distribution-8

Analysis of Indiana's policies

Providing comprehensive reporting may be the state's most important role for ensuring the equitable distribution of teachers among schools. Indiana reports little school-level data that can help support the equitable distribution of teacher talent.

Indiana does not collect or publicly report any of the data recommended by NCTQ. The state does not provide a school-level teacher quality index that indicates the academic backgrounds of a school's teachers. Indiana also does not report on teacher absenteeism or turnover rates.

Indiana does report on the percentage of highly qualified teachers, but only at the state level, not the district or school level. The state does report on the average number of years of teacher experience by school and is commended for providing a roster that includes the years of experience for each teacher. With these data, the ratio of new to veteran teachers can easily be determined.


Recommendations for Indiana

Use a teacher quality index to report publicly about each school.
A teacher quality index, such as the one developed by the Illinois Education Research Council, with data including teachers' average SAT or ACT scores, the percentage of teachers failing basic skills licensure tests at least once, the selectivity of teachers' undergraduate colleges and the percentage of new teachers, can shine a light on how equitably teachers are distributed both across and within districts. Indiana should ensure that individual school report cards include such data in a manner that translates these factors into something easily understood by the public, such as a color-coded matrix indicating a school's high or low score.

Publish other data that facilitate comparisons across schools.
Indiana should collect and report other school-level data that reflect the stability of a school's faculty, including the rates of teacher absenteeism and turnover.

Provide comparative data based on school demographics.
Providing comparative data for schools with similar poverty and minority populations would yield an even more comprehensive picture of gaps in the equitable distribution of teachers. 

Report data at the school level.
Indiana should ensure that it is reporting all currently collected data at the school-level, rather than aggregated at the state level.

State response to our analysis

Indiana was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. Indiana also noted that "this goal does not seem to be in line with what is most important—student outcomes," and that "HQT is so outmoded in 2011." The state added that it does not like to include inputs when it can directly show outputs. Indiana also pointed out that "it would be easier to have looked at addressing some of these issues if it had a heads-up that NCTQ wanted some kind of index. When brand=new goals are invented without prior warning to states that are trying hard to meet NCTQ's markers, it is really discouraging." That said, Indiana indicated that it loves the idea and is already planning how to do an index.

Last word

NCTQ agrees that HQT is outmoded as states move toward connecting teacher performance to student learning. However, in the short term, it remains among the data most readily available that shines at least some light on teacher distribution. As for the teacher quality index, NCTQ has been advocating for states to adopt such an index since it was first published by the Illinois Education Research Council in 2008. It was included in this goal in 2009, as well as in numerous other NCTQ reports. No state has acted on this recommendation to date, and NCTQ is pleased that Indiana is considering doing so.

Research rationale

For comprehensive review of the literature on teacher quality and distribution, see Jennifer Rice King, "The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications" CALDER: Urban Institute (August 2010). For more about how poor and minority children do not get their fair share of high-quality teachers, read L. Feng and T. Sass, "Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility." National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (2011); T. Sass et al, "Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools." CALDER Institute (2010); and Education Trust, Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Children are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality (Washington, DC: Education Trust, 2006).

Education Trust also produced an analysis of the first set of state Equity Plans that pointed out the inadequacies of most states' data systems to produce reliable information about teacher qualifications and experience levels in schools disaggregated by poverty and racial composition of schools. Although almost all states were required to resubmit their plans and earned approval for them, many of the shortcomings of state data systems remained. For example, few states are equipped to identify by school, teachers' years of experience, meaning they cannot identify the ratio of new teachers to the full school staff. See Education Trust, Missing the Mark: An Education Trust Analysis of Teacher-Equity Plans (Washington, DC: Education Trust, 2006).

For an example of a teacher quality index, see White, Bradford R.; Presley, Jennifer and DeAngelis, Karen J. Leveling Up: Narrowing the Teacher Academic Capital Gap in Illinois. Illinois Education Research Council: IERC 2008-1 http://ierc.siue.edu/documents/IERC2008-1.pdf.

For more about teachers' effectiveness in the early years of teaching, see Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job by Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger at: The Hamilton Project, http://www.brookings.edu/views/papers/200604hamilton_1.pdf (2009);

See also Jennifer Rice King, Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2003).