REL 2005 Policy Forum
Teacher Resources in SEDL's Region

Dr. Zena H. Rudo, Dr. Celeste Alexander - SEDL Policy Research
James Ball - New Mexico Public Education Department

In this session, participants heard about teacher compensation research and practice in SEDL’s region. SEDL staff presented findings from their research on state data systems and teacher resource links to student performance. James Ball, representing New Mexico’s Public Education Department, presented information on the state’s Three-Tiered Teacher Licensure System.

SEDL Presentation

Rudo gave a brief overview of SEDL’s policy research studies on education resource allocation issues. She discussed several lessons learned from this research:

  • Higher student performance is related to higher levels of resource allocation (fiscal and teacher resources) in instructional areas.
  • State education data to study teacher resource allocation is generally available and accessible; however, variables of interest may not be due to accuracy, consistency, and database alignment limitations.

As a basis for SEDL’s research, Rudo provided information about previous research in the field. She discussed SEDL’s current study in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas on teacher resources and student achievement examining teacher base salary, experience, and education in different school environments. Schools are differentiated by their locale (urban, rural, or suburban), student minority and poverty enrollments, and per-pupil instructional expenditures. Additionally, the school environment is defined by family household incomes and levels of parent education. SEDL’s study is particularly concerned with high-need schools, i.e., those that are either rural or urban and have higher than 50 percent non-white student enrollment, or over 50 percent of students on free and reduced priced lunch, or in the lowest 25 percent on student achievement tests. Rudo showed tables describing the schools and teachers in the study, as well as data on the average salaries of teachers in various type schools.

Alexander presented preliminary findings from SEDL’s current study. In all three states in the study, teacher salaries basically follow the single salary schedule. Alexander noted that teachers with low salaries in the study are more often found in schools with high student poverty and minority enrollment. Additionally, certified teachers make a higher base salary, on average, than uncertified teachers.

In regard to high-need schools in the study, SEDL’s preliminary findings indicate that in Arkansas and Texas, not only is high student poverty in schools related to lower average salaries for teachers in these schools compared to other schools, but also lower teacher education levels. In Arkansas and Louisiana, high student minority enrollment in schools is also a factor related to lower education levels in these schools. Across all three states, if a school is in a rural location, it is more likely that average teacher salaries will be lower than in urban and suburban schools. In Texas, on average, teachers in rural schools are also more likely to have lower teacher education levels. Alexander also pointed out that when assessing schools in the study with low student achievement in 8th grade math, teachers in high-need schools, on average, have lower teacher education levels than teachers in schools in the study that are not high-need. Particular to Texas, these same schools also tend to have, on average, lower teacher salaries.

Alexander also discussed preliminary results for all schools in the study with 8th grade math achievement scores. She pointed out that in all three states, scores on prior math achievement tests, as well as student demographics, such as the percent of minority and low income students in a school, are important factors in predicting future math achievement scores. In Arkansas and Louisiana, teacher resources, such as salary, education, and experience do not seem to play much of a role in predicting math achievement. However, in Texas, teacher salary is significantly related to student math achievement, i.e., higher salary and traditional certification are related to higher math achievement. SEDL researchers also examined the relationship between traditional versus alternative teacher certification and student math achievement. In Arkansas and Louisiana, there was no significant relationship found; however in Texas, schools with higher numbers of traditionally certified teachers were found to have, on average, higher math achievement.

SEDL will complete this study in December 2005.

New Mexico Public Education Department Presentation

James Ball described the New Mexico’sThree-Tiered Teacher Licensure System, in place since July, 2004. The program links teachers’ licensure levels and salaries to the work teachers accomplish in the classroom, and encourages and supports ongoing professional development in nine teaching competency areas. Progress through the program guarantees minimum salary levels for teachers at different licensure levels. The minimum salary levels will be phased in over a five-year period. To-date, New Mexico has spent $61 million on Level I and II implementation and expects to spend another $40 million on future implementation. A major component of the program is an evidence-based teacher evaluation system, with differentiated indicators by the licensure level and individual. Each teacher’s annual evaluation includes four processes:

  • Professional development plan
  • Reflection on the professional development plan
  • Summative evaluation
  • Progressive documentation of teacher performance.

For teachers to advance through the Three-Tiered Licensure System, they must submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD), completed on-line. Each PDD includes five strands, three evaluated by independent reviewers at the state level and two completed at the district level. Within each strand, teachers document their progress toward meeting the state teaching competency areas. Currently, two submission periods have taken place and some analysis of the data have been performed on who advances from Level I to Level II by teacher preparation institution and teacher ethnicity. New Mexico recognizes additional work to be done on the program in the areas of local teacher evaluations and evaluation of leadership.

To learn more about the New Mexico Three-Tiered Licensure System, go to

James Ball's Presentation (PPT)
SEDL's Policy Forum Presentation (PPT)