Teacher Selection: A Delphi Study

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Virginia Tech

The hiring of teachers is one of the most important responsibilities of principals (Emley & Ebmeier, 1997; Place & Drake, 1994). When errors in hiring occur, consequences are felt by staff, students, parents, community, and the overall operation and functioning of the school (Emley & Ebmeier, 1997).

Unfortunately, not much empirical research has been conducted to date to support how to hire quality teachers effectively. "The research to date has not sufficiently addressed questions such as (1) what criteria need to be assessed; (2) which of those criteria are judged to be the most important by those using them in the process; and (3) what variables influence principal priorities." (Place & Drake, p. 87)

The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2002) has mandated that all teachers meet the definition of being highly qualified. This mandate poses unique challenges to principals in the identification of teachers who possess the characteristics considered essential in the teacher selection process. The purpose of this study was to develop consensus among nationally recognized principals regarding the traits considered essential for teachers, the best interview questions to target these traits, and other sources utilized to identify these essential traits.

The research methodology that was used to develop consensus consists of a three-round Delphi study. By definition, the Delphi technique is "a group process involving an interaction between the researcher and a group of identified experts on a specified topic, usually through a series of questionnaires" (Skutsch & Hall, 1973). The knowledge and experiences of the panel of expert principals provided the underlying premise from which group consensus was built.

teacher selection, teacher traits