DG EAC publish Ecorys study on boosting teacher quality

DG EAC (Directorate General for Education and Culture) have published a study by the European Institute of Education and Social Policy (EIESP) and Ecorys on boosting teacher quality. The study gathers evidence on policies that aim to raise students' learning outcomes through incentives and support measures to enhance teacher quality. Policies to support, develop and incentivise teacher quality have been central to European Commission’s ET 2020 strategic objective, “Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training”.

The main aim of the study is to identify policies that are effective and efficient. These include incentives and support systems to ensure that high-quality candidates are recruited into initial teacher education, retained and supported to develop and deepen their professional competences (both individual and collective) throughout their careers. This focus on effectiveness and efficiency is particularly important in the context of increasing demands on teachers and stricter limits on education spending.

The following eight key policy measures were applied to the study to influence teacher quality and ultimately student outcomes:

  • Professional competence frameworks

  • Extrinsic and intrinsic incentives

  • Recruitment and deployment

  • Initial teacher education, induction and continuing professional development

  • Schools as learning organisations, teacher networks

  • Teacher evaluation

  • Tools, guidelines and research

  • Social status, prestige and attractiveness of the teaching profession

These different policies aim to influence the knowledge, motivation, commitment and professional identity of teachers. It also aims to improve the environment in which teachers work including opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge.

The study makes a distinction between system and school-level policies. This distinction has far-reaching implications for countries seeking to achieve an appropriate balance between top-down and bottom-up policy design and implementation of policies. It also recognises that a significant part of competences needed for effective teaching is not generated by continuing professional development programmes provided to individual teachers, but by knowledge sharing communities operating in schools or school networks.

Development in each of the eight policy areas is conceived in a “four-stage perspective” to review gaps and strengths of current policies, and develop long-term strategies aiming to deepen teacher professionalism.

Stage 1 – ensuring teaching is an attractive profession and raising the quality of teacher candidates

Stage 2 – using professional competence frameworks to guide strategies

Stage 3 – introducing advanced professional development models

Stage 4 – supporting teachers as high level learning professionals

There is an emerging evidence base showing that education systems devoting more attention to developing a coherent teacher policy framework are rewarded with more qualified applicants into initial teacher education. Other benefits include a lower turnover from the profession and higher levels of professional development leading to increased teacher professionalism and mastery.

The full study can be read here 

For more information, please contact Cecile McGrath