Questions to Consider When Using Teacher Data

Cautions:

  • Data about teacher qualifications are based on an audit of data submitted by Wisconsin School Districts on the Fall Staff Report and data on DPI's educator license database. Licenses issued by DPI after the date of the audit or inaccurate reporting of assignments by districts could result in some teachers erroneously listed as unlicensed or not ESEA qualified.
  • Check "Total # of FTE teachers" before reaching conclusions about the significance of high or low percents. Note that "Total # of FTE teachers" is included in the table below each graph. Percents may be misleading if the total number of FTE teachers is small. One teacher may mean the difference between a high percent or a low percent. For example, if the "Total # of FTE teachers" is two and if one teacher has an "emergency license", then 50% have an "emergency license." This percent might be cause for more concern if the "Total # of FTE teachers" were 200 and 100 of these teachers have "emergency licenses."
  • What are the percentages of FTE teachers who have full licenses for the subjects taught? Percentages with at least 5 years of total experience? Percentages with a masters degree or higher? Percentages who are ESEA qualified? How do these percentages compare with prior years?
  • Do these percentages vary by subject taught (e.g. English language arts vs. math) or by school type (e.g. elementary schools vs. high schools)? How do they compare to percentages for teachers with special education assignments?
  • How might teacher qualifications be related to student academic performance, graduation rates, and other outcomes in your school or district? Student performance in reading, math, and science; graduation rates; and attendance are used for school accountability purposes.
  • Are there associations between teacher qualifications and such factors as school demographic characteristics, district spending, high-quality professional development opportunities, and/or staff climate?
  • Are students in schools with large proportions of economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, students of color, or students with limited English proficiency more likely to be taught by teachers with lower qualifications? (See scatterplot.)
  • If the percentages of teachers with less than 5 years of district experience is unacceptably low, why? What might this tell you about staff morale or other local conditions?
  • Are there similar schools with higher teacher qualifications? What can your school community learn from these schools about recruiting and retaining qualified teachers?

NOTE: For ESEA purposes, the focus is on the percentage of teachers teaching core subjects who are ESEA qualified. The ESEA goal is for all teachers teaching core subjects to be ESEA qualified.

 

 

For questions about this information, contact dpistats@dpi.wi.gov (608) 267-3166