Heather Hill

Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Education, Harvard University
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Heather

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. 



"Dividing by Zero: Exploring Null Results in a Mathematics Professional Development Program" (with R.T. Jacob and D. Corey). Teachers College Record 120, no. 6 (forthcoming).

Finds that conflicting district policies and programs prevented teachers from implementing the ideas and skills learned in a professional development program. 

"Resources for Teaching: Examining Personal and Institutional Predictors of High-Quality Instruction" (with David Blazar and Kathleen Lynch). AERA Open 1, no. 4 (2015): 1-23.

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.  

"Professional Development Research: Consensus, Crossroads, and Challenges" (with Mary Beisiegal and Robin Jacob). Educational Researcher, 42, no. 9 (2013): 476-487.

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.

"Learning from Teacher Observations: Challenges and Opportunities Posed by New Teacher Evaluation Systems" (with Pam Grossman). Harvard Education Review 83 (2013): 371-384.

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. 

"Mathematical Knowledge of Middle School Teachers: Implications for the No Child Left Behind Policy Initiative" Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 29 (2007): 95-114.

Finds stronger levels of mathematical knowledge among teachers who possess more mathematical coursework, a subject-specific certification, and high-school teaching experience.