The Gratton Institute have just released a report which endeavours to ‘bring home’ the message that teacher effectiveness is the most significant influence on student outcomes. The summary on page four should be enough to spark significant conversation. Jenson (Director of School Education Program at Gratton Institute) investigates the factors that influence student performance and writes;
“An increase in teacher effectiveness of 10% would lift Australia’s education systems into the highest performing group of countries in the world… Each grade needs to incorporate 5% of a year’s worth of learning for our students to be amoungst the best in the world.”
The report campaigns for more government investment in teacher training rather than ‘pointing the finger’ at teachers. It utilises internationally recognised testing such as PISA, PIRLS and TIMMS to acknowledge Australia’s placing in international rankings; currently eighth with Finland, Hong Kong, Canada, Taipei, Estonia, Japan and New Zealand ahead of Australia in performance.
I thought this graph was worthy of inclusion;
Jenson quotes extensive research to determine that class size has a ‘little to no impact’ on student performance (mentions a study in Florida where class sizes were restricted to 18) but ‘moderate changes to teacher effectiveness have a significant long-term effect’.
Politicians will push for 5% more ‘content’ but they also need to be prepared to spend big on effectively equipping Australian teachers (This report comments that the government have spent a great deal on training and development with little return). Principals, don’t let those ‘effective’ teachers go!
I feel justified in some of my earlier arguments about teacher commitment to learning outcomes. What do you think? (Go on – tell me I’m right) Read the full report by clicking here: http://www.grattan.edu.au/publications/057_report_education_investing_teachers.pdf
- Teachers more important than class size (news.theage.com.au)
- Real ways to improve ‘teacher effectiveness’ (sfgate.com)