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Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
The sweeping No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation seeks to impact U.S. education on a broad scale through provisions and mandates that target both resources and student outcomes. One NCLB mandate is to provide every student with a "highly qualified teacher." The mandate arises from growing evidence of the relationship between teacher qualifications and student achievement. Research draws a significant association between differences in student achievement and teacher effectiveness in the classroom (Wright, Horn, and Sanders 1997). Three reports--a 1999 study that used data from a fifty-state survey of policies, the 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)--all expanded upon these findings. These studies found that teacher-quality variables accounted for 67 to 87 percent of total variance in student achievement (Darling Hammond 1999). Darling-Hammond determined that such teacher-quality characteristics as certification status and degree in a specific teaching field significantly and positively correlate with student outcomes. Furthermore, significant relationships with student achievement were evident even after controlling for student poverty and language background. This research highlights the critical importance of highly qualified teachers. In summary, the data indicated that overall, schools at risk had less-qualified new teachers. The less-qualified teaching force would further exacerbate the inequity already existing in those schools at risk. As a result, the teaching profession and the broader society face a serious equity issue.