Therefore, we always need to be exploring ways to enhance the quality of teaching in schools.
Earlier this week, the executive director of the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association, Rob Nairn, proposed that all new teachers undertake one-year internships to help stop under-performers becoming permanent teachers.
I floated this idea on Facebook, and got some spirited replies both for and against the idea.
However, one person asked the perfect question – what does the evidence say?
Not being an HR expert, my honest answer was that I didn’t know. I have since reviewed all the evidence1 I could get my hands on, and stumbled upon some interesting findings.
- In general terms, internships or trial periods, are an effective way to select better staff – however, they are no more effective than traditional selection techniques.
- A simple IQ test is a better predictor of subsequent performance than any other selection technique – be they interviews, literacy tests or job trials.
The second finding is probably more of a surprise than the first.
Perhaps there are easier and less subjective ways to select better teachers than job trials, or perhaps job trials should only be one element of a more comprehensive way of selecting better teachers.
Interestingly, Andrew Pierpoint, the president of the Qld Secondary Principals’ Association, stated that:
Education is a classic example where you need people with the smarts, but they also need to be able to develop relationships.
Evidence supports that idea that strong teacher-student relationships have a substantial impact on kids’ results.
However, it is important to note that you don’t need a magic personality or to be an ‘entertainer’ to forge such relationships. In fact, the only aspect of personality consistently related to job performance is conscientiousness.
- Sullivan, P. (1991). Paper Presented at IPMA Seminar. 19 September; Hattie, J., & Anderman, E. (2013). International Guide to Student Achievement: Educational Psychology Handbook. Routledge; Pelayo, I., & Brewer, D. J. (2010). Teacher Quality in Education Production. In D. Brewer, & P. McEwan (Eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Education (pp. 178-182). New York: Elsevier; Schmidt, F. L. (2009). Select On Intelligence. In Handbook of Principles of Organisational Behavior. Wiley; Menkes, J. (2005, November). Hiring for Smarts. Harvard Business Review, p. 100; Salago, J., Anderson, N., Moscoso, S., Bertua, C., de Fruyt, F., & Rolland, J. (2003). A Meta-Analytic Study of General Mental Ability Validity for Different Occupations In the European Community. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1068-1081; Ehrenberg, R. G. (1995). Did Teachers’ Verbal Ability and Race Matter in the 1960s? Coleman Revisited. Economics of Education Review, 14 (1), 1– 21; Ree, M., Earles, J., & Teachout, M. (1994). Predicting job performance: Not much more than g.. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(4), 518-524; Ehrenberg, R. G. (1994). Do School and Teacher Characteristics Matter? Evidence from High School and Beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13(1), 1-17. [↩]