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Georgia school systems use Gallup to predict teacher success

Gallup’s online test measures whether a prospective teacher is “engaging” and can connect with children, one school official said.

The three largest school systems in Georgia, tasked with screening avalanches of job applicants, use a high-tech tool that’s supposed to identify people with a passion for teaching.

Gallup Inc., the polling firm, says its TeacherInsight service can predict the likelihood of success of future educators, although some question that assertion.

Gwinnett and Cobb counties’ school systems have used the Gallup service for several years, and DeKalb County came on board last year and recently renewed its contract. Between them, the three school districts employ more than 20,000 teachers, so Gallup’s online test for job candidates is helping to shape the next generation of teachers in metro Atlanta.

In Cobb County, applicants outnumber available teaching positions by 30 to 1, said Tim Baker, executive director of employment. “You just get inundated.”

The Gallup test measures “talent” and whether a prospective teacher is “engaging” and can connect with children, Baker said. “They’re getting to the innate ability to teach.”

Gallup says its test can measure motivation, relationship building, creativity, and organization, but the company basically says “trust us” on that: Its methods, computer models, and data are proprietary and confidential.

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