Last Modified: May 1999

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There are many teacher characteristics that have been shown to be related to student achievement. Many of these are assessed prior to or during the teacher training process. For example, at Valdosta State University (VSU) students must pass the PRAXIS I in both reading and writing and must complete a two English courses with a "C" or better before being allowed to enroll in teacher education. This is a statement that communication skills encompass an important teacher characteristic.

A sound knowledge base is also thought to be an important teacher characteristic. Again, in the state of Georgia students must complete the required lower division curriculum with a CGPA of 2.5 before being allowed to enter the education program. Students must then take a certain number of courses in the subjects they expect to teach and must maintain the 2.5 CGPA in order to enroll in student teaching. They then must pass a specific PRAXIS II test covering content they will teach and principles of human development and the teaching/learning process before they are certified to teach. All of this is based on the belief that teacher knowledge is an important teacher characteristic.

Classroom planning, management and instructional skills are also considered important teacher characteristics. Teachers must demonstrate that they possess these skills during student teaching, and then are evaluated each year to determine if they have maintained these skills. Thus performance skills are also considered an important teacher characteristic.

However, one teacher characteristic that has been consistently related to student achievement, but which is not systematically measured is teacher efficacy. Teacher efficacy relates to a teacher's belief that students in his or her classroom can learn and that he or she can teach them.

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