Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Teachers Trump Small Schools

Having determined in a previous study that good teachers trump small classes, the Gates Foundation turned its attention to small high schools. This was risky for them, because they'd given billions assuming that smaller high schools would mean better graduation rates and test scores. However, their findings proved otherwise.
[P]utting a great teacher in a low-income school helped students advance a grade and a half in one year. An ineffective teacher in a high-income school held student achievement back to about half a grade of progress in a year.
The Gates Foundation will now put its billions toward improving teaching, which is probably where that money should have gone all along.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but how do you measure good teaching? I think it is entirely done by measuring class "success", as so many teaching styles can work in different but successful ways. But then how do you measure student success -- I worry it will all go back to test scores.

KAZ said...

You start by getting teachers out of teacher training programs. You start recruiting teachers who specialize in content areas. You analyze their teaching by watching them teach (more than the contract-required once per annum). It's actually quite subjective. It's about enthusiasm and communication and knowledge and connection, and you will know it when you see it. Only then do you turn toward measuring student success, which you can do via tests or portfolios or performance or however you wish.