Understanding and Enhancing Teaching

Trends in U.S. educational policy are driving a need to answer fundamental questions about effective classroom instruction, such as:

  • How can we define quality in teaching and how can we measure it appropriately?
  • How can teachers develop effective practices and how well do they apply these practices in the classroom?

ETS's research on the subject of understanding and enhancing teaching aims to:

  • define and measure teacher knowledge of mathematics, English language arts, and science
  • develop approaches to measuring teachers' knowledge and effective use of formative assessment
  • define and measure teacher effectiveness

Featured Publications

These are some recent or significant ETS-authored publications on the subject of understanding and enhancing teaching:


  • Substance and Show: Understanding Responses to NCATE Accreditation
    C. Bell & P. Youngs (2011)
    Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 298–307

    This article describes a case study of how universities in Connecticut responded to teacher education accreditation policy between 2002 and 2006. View the full abstract or download this report.


  • Recent Trends in Mean Scores and Characteristics of Test-Takers on Praxis II Licensure Tests
    D. H. Gitomer & Y. Qi (2010)
    U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development

    This study examines changes in teacher licensure scores from 1999 to 2006. The purpose of this study was to identify trends in Praxis scores on a select number of tests across recent years and across as many states as possible. View the full abstract or download this report from the U.S. Department of Education website.

  • Measuring the Effects of Professional Development on Teacher Knowledge: The Case of Developing Mathematical Ideas
    C. Bell, S. Wilson, T. Higgins, & D. B. McCoach (2010)
    Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Vol. 41, No. 5, pp. 479–512

    In this article, researchers describe a study that examined the impact of a teacher professional development program known as Developing Mathematical Ideas. The study considered how the program affected teachers’ knowledge in mathematics. View the full abstract.


  • Models for Effective and Scalable Teacher Professional Development
    M. Thompson & L. Goe (2009)
    ETS Research Report No. RR-09-07

    This paper presents the theoretical and empirical basis of an evolving program of professional development that employs school-embedded teacher learning communities as a central component, called Keeping Learning on Track. View the full abstract or download this report.

  • Teacher Professional Development Focused on Formative Assessment: Changing Teachers, Changing Schools
    E. C. Wylie, C. J. Lyon, & L. Goe (2009)
    ETS Research Report No. RR-09-10

    This paper outlines an approach to improving learning and teaching that combines two strong research bases: the research on formative assessment or assessment for learning, which provides information about what to change; and research on teacher learning communities, which guides decisions about how to change. View the full abstract or download this report.

  • When Policy Instruments Combine to Promote Coherence: An Analysis of Connecticut’s Policies Related to Teacher Quality.
    P. Youngs & C. Bell (2009)
    Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 435–460

    This paper explains how the Connecticut General Assembly and the Connecticut State Department of Education implemented a set of policies related to teaching and learning. View the full abstract or order this article from the publisher.


  • Robustness of a Value-added Assessment of School Effectiveness
    H. Braun, Y. Qu, & C. Trapani (2008)
    ETS Research Report No. RR-08-22

    This paper reports on a study conducted to investigate the consistency of the results between two approaches to estimating school effectiveness through value-added modeling. The data were extracted from the longitudinal records maintained in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) archive for students remaining in the same school from the beginning of kindergarten through the end of Grade 3. View the full abstract or order this report.

  • Approaches to Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: A Research Synthesis
    L. Goe, C. Bell, & O. Little (2008)
    National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ)

    This research synthesis examines how teacher effectiveness is currently measured and provides practical guidance on how best to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The findings are presented along with related policy implications. View the full abstract or download this report from the NCCTQ website.


  • Teacher Quality in a Changing Policy Landscape: Improvements in the Teacher Pool
    D. Gitomer (2007)
    ETS Policy Information Report

    The past few years have seen an unprecedented level of education policy activity focused on issues of teacher quality. This report examines whether changes in the academic quality of the teaching force are associated with this unprecedented policy focus. View the full abstract or download this report.

  • The Link Between Teacher Quality and Student Outcomes: A Research Synthesis
    L. Goe (2007)
    National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ)

    This research synthesis explores the evidence for the relationship between teacher quality and student outcomes in an effort to help identify which teacher qualifications and characteristics should be prioritized in educating and hiring those teachers who are most likely to have a positive impact on student learning. View the full abstract or download this report from the NCCTQ website.

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