Hill’s research focuses on policies and programs designed to improve teaching quality in the U.S. Topics of interest include the impact of teacher training and certification, teacher professional development, teacher evaluation and feedback, district instructional policies, and new curriculum materials on both teaching and student outcomes. She also conducts surveys that track both teacher qualifications and teaching quality across time. She advises governments and foundations interested in new approaches to improving teacher quality.
Finds stronger levels of mathematical knowledge among teachers who possess more mathematical coursework, a subject-specific certification, and high-school teaching experience.
Identifies barriers to the use of new teacher evaluation systems to improve instruction, including the lack of subject-specific instructional expertise among the principals charged with conducting classroom observation, the lack of high-quality feedback and follow-up after observations, and the scale of the program.
Observes that randomized trials of specific professional development programs have not enhanced our knowledge of effective program characteristics, leaving practitioners without guidance about best practices in program design. In response, we propose that scholars should execute more rigorous comparisons of professional development designs at the initial stages of program development, and use information derived from these studies to build a professional knowledge base.
Teachers’ mathematical knowledge and their district context explained variation in mathematics teaching quality, as measured via videotaped observations; other factors, such as teacher experience, certification and preparation route, explained very little variation in teaching quality.
Finds that conflicting district policies and programs prevented teachers from implementing the ideas and skills learned in a professional development program.