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Should you judge a teacher by his pupils?

Is there a relationship between teacher competence and pupil test scores? In other words, should a teacher take the credit for the high-quality academic performance of one pupil and the blame for the low-quality performance of another?

And a concomitant question:

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If a student uses correct procedure according to his teacher, and the student fails to learn, who should be held accountable for the failure - the student or the teacher?

Or, to put the question yet another way: Does the competence of the teacher affect the learning of his pupils? The answer is generally ''yes.'' But then another statement follows: The abilities students bring with them to class may play the important role in their academic competence inspite of the teacher.

Research on this question is under way in school systems as well as colleges and universities around the world.

It's a debate the Monitor is following closely.

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