Tag Archives: Student Achievement

University of Pennsylvania study: True grit of individual teacher linked to effectiveness and retention

11 Mar

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise:

With approximately 1.6 million teachers set to retire in the next decade, replenishing America’s teaching force should be a top priority. But filling classrooms with new teachers is only half the battle. Retaining them is equally important.
Numerous studies show that teachers perform best after being in the classroom for at least five years. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of American teachers leave after only one year, and 46 percent quit before their fifth year. In countries with the highest results on international tests, teacher turnover rates are much lower—around 3 percent.
This constant cycling in and out of new teachers is a costly phenomena. Students miss being taught by experienced educators, and schools and districts nationwide spend about $2.2 billion per year recruiting and training replacements.
Why are so many new teachers fleeing the profession after so few years in the classroom? Here are the top five reasons teacher turnover is an ongoing challenge:
5. BURNOUT: A recent U.C. Berkeley study of Los Angeles charter schools found unusually high rates of teacher turnover. At the 163 charter schools studied, teacher turnover hovered around 40 percent, compared to 15 percent at traditional public schools.
Since demands on charter school educators are seemingly boundless, including extended hours, researchers theorized, burnout is a viable explanation for the teacher exodus. “We have seen earlier results showing that working conditions are tough and challenging in charter schools,” explained U.C. Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller. “Charter teachers wear many hats and have many duties and are teaching urban kids, challenging urban kids, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this effect.”
4.THREAT OF LAYOFFS: In response to annual budget shortfalls, districts nationwide have sent pink slips to tens of thousands of teachers each spring for the past four years. In 2011, California sent out 30,000….
3. LOW WAGES: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that teachers should earn between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. That’s a far cry from the current national average starting salary for teachers, which is $35,139….
2. TESTING PRESSURE: Since the No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001, standardized test scores in math and reading have become the most important accountability measure used to evaluate schools.
Studies show that pressure to raise student test scores causes teachers to experience more stress and less job satisfaction. Many educators resent narrowing curriculum and stifling creativity in favor of teaching to the test.
On the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” the majority of comments submitted by survey respondents were “expressions of strong opposition to the current emphasis on student testing.”
As states increasingly rely on standardized test scores to evaluate individual educators, determine teacher pay and make lay-off decisions, testing pressure will only increase.
1. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS: When the Gates foundation polled 40,000 teachers about job satisfaction, the majority agreed that supportive leadership, time for collaboration, access to high quality curriculum and resources, clean and safe buildings, and relevant professional development were even more important than higher salaries.
But working conditions in many public schools remain far from this ideal—especially for beginning teachers, who are most likely to be assigned to the highest-need schools. Despite the added challenges they face, these teachers are often given few resources and little professional support. http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/08/09/five-reasons-teacher-turnover-rise

Since many teachers will be leaving the profession in the next few years, the question is what effect teacher departures have on students and are there traits of teachers who choose to remain in the classroom which should be studied.

Holly Yettick reported in the Education Week article, Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention:

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about gritty students. Now grit researchers are turning their attention to teachers. In a study published in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Teachers College Record, University of Pennsylvania researchers Claire Robertson-Kraft and Angela Duckworth found that, for novice teachers in high-poverty school districts, higher levels of “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (aka “grit”) were associated with higher rates of effectiveness and retention.
“No single factor alone should determine a hiring decision for a teacher,” said Robertson-Kraft, a doctoral candidate in education policy and former 3rd grade teacher. “But the study does suggest that grit is one factor that could be considered among many.”
This is not the first study of teachers and grit for Duckworth, an associate professor of psychology and MacArthur Fellow who has been credited with coining the term “grit” in 2007. An earlier study, published in the peer-refereed Journal of Positive Psychology in 2009, also found that grittier novice teachers were more effective novice teachers. However, a limitation of that study was that it relied on self reports of grit. (For instance, participants were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with such sentences as “Setbacks don’t discourage me.”) A problem with self-reported measures is that people are more likely to agree with socially desirable statements simply because they think they should.
For this more recent study, the authors developed a method in which raters scored 461 novice teachers’ resumes. This method assigns 0 to 6 points based on the extent to which a teacher sticks with an activity over a period of years and also attains “moderate” or “high” levels of success in that activity. For instance, a teacher with no multiyear activities in college would receive a score of 0, which would indicate a shortage of grit. The highest score of 6 might go to a gritty teacher who was a “member of the cross-country team for four years and voted MVP in senior year” and was also “founder and president for two years of the university’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.” The unnamed teacher-training organization that provided the data for the study is now using a version of this rating system as one of multiple tools to help make hiring decisions.
The rating system could be promising, according to Matthew Kraft (no relation to Robertson-Kraft), an assistant professor of education at Brown University. Kraft was not involved with the study…. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2014/03/gritty_teachers.html

Here is the synopsis from Teachers College Record:

True Grit: Trait-Level Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals Predicts Effectiveness and Retention Among Novice Teachers
by Claire Robertson-Kraft & Angela Duckworth — 2014

Background/Context: Surprisingly little progress has been made in linking teacher effectiveness and retention to factors observable at the time of hire. The rigors of teaching, particularly in low-income school districts, suggest the importance of personal qualities that have so far been difficult to measure objectively.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: In this study, we examine the predictive validity of personal qualities not typically collected by school districts during the hiring process. Specifically, we use a psychological framework to explore how biographical data on grit, a disposition toward perseverance and passion for long-term goals, explains variance in novice teachers’ effectiveness and retention.
Research Design: In two prospective, longitudinal samples of novice teachers assigned to schools in low-income districts (N = 154 and N = 307, respectively), raters blind to outcomes followed a 7-point rubric to rate grit from information on college activities and work experience extracted from teachers’ résumés. We used independent-samples, t-tests, and binary logistic regression models to predict teacher effectiveness and retention from these grit ratings as well as from other information (e.g., SAT scores, college GPA, and interview ratings of leadership potential) available at the time of hire.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Grittier teachers outperformed their less gritty colleagues and were less likely to leave their classrooms midyear. Notably, no other variables in our analysis predicted either effectiveness or retention. These findings contribute to a better understanding of what leads some novice teachers to outperform others and remain committed to the profession. In addition to informing policy decisions surrounding teacher recruitment and development, this investigation highlights the potential of a psychological framework to explain why some individuals are more successful than others in meeting the rigorous demands of teaching. http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=17352

What the various studies seem to point out is there is no one remedy which works in all situations and that there must be a menu of education options.

Resources:

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries
http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

Are Teachers Overpaid?
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay
http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/13/some-teachers-skeptical-of-merit-pay/

Related:

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/washington-d-c-rolls-out-merit-pay/

Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-recruitment/

Fordham Institute report: Teacher pensions squeezing states
https://drwilda.com/2013/06/07/fordham-institute-report-teacher-pensions-squeezing-states/

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Florida mandated longer school day and more time devoted to reading for low-performing schools

25 Jan

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length. According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?
Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).
In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.
In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:
◦There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.
◦There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.
◦The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.
However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits. http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.

The Center for American Progress’ issues brief, Expanded Learning Time By the Numbers examined school day length. Among the findings are:

Expanded learning time basics
655: The number of expanded learning time schools in 36 states, more than a quarter of which are standard district public schools.
300: The recommended minimum number of additional hours that schools should add to their school calendar to provide students more learning time and opportunities for enrichment activities.
6 to 20 percent: The increase in a school’s budget, depending on the staffing model, to expand learning time for students by 30 percent.
90 percent: The proportion of ELT schools that considered their longer day or year to be essential in meeting their educational goals in a survey of nearly 250 ELT schools.
20 percent: The increase in annual classroom hours that experienced teachers say they need to effectively teach the four core academic subjects—English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
Other countries are racing ahead in education
197: The average number of days that a middle school teacher in Finland, Japan, and Korea spends on instruction per year compared to the 180 days in the United States.
10,000: The number of hours researchers estimate that students need to achieve expertise. There are approximately 800 annual instructional hours a year in U.S. schools, which means it would take 12.5 years for students to participate in 10,000 hours of schooling, given no loss of learning during the summer.
Students at low-income schools are being left behind
3,000: The average number of words in a low-income kindergartener’s vocabulary compared to the 20,000 in a middle-class kindergartener’s vocabulary.
Sixth or seventh: The grade at which approximately half of ninth graders at high-poverty schools are reading when they enter high school.
32 million: The size of the gap in word exposure between children in professional families (45 million words) and welfare families (13 million) that has accumulated by age 4. Children in professional families will have heard almost as many words by age 1 (11.2 million) as children in welfare families have heard by age 4 (13 million).
1.67: The average minutes per day that third, fourth, and fifth graders in high-poverty schools received explicit vocabulary instruction, or about 100 seconds.
Four: The maximum number of minutes per day teachers in low-income schools spent engaging their first-grade students with informational texts rich in academic language and content-area vocabulary, often because these resources were unavailable. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/news/2010/04/22/7716/expanded-learning-time-by-the-numbers/

Expanded learning time and a focus on the basics can yield results.

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen reported in Education Next about the effect of time in school. In Time for School? Marcotte and Hansen report:

Our work confirms that increasing instructional time could have large positive effects on learning gains. Encouraging schools and districts to view the school calendar as a tool in the effort to improve learning outcomes should be encouraged in both word and policy. http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Research confirms there are certain traits of successful schools.

Catherine Gewertz reported in the Education Week article, Fla. Pushes Longer Day, More Reading in Some Schools:

Two years ago, Florida took a step no other state has taken to improve students’ reading skills: It required its 100 lowest-performing elementary schools to add an extra hour to their school day and to use that time for reading instruction. Early results suggest the new initiative may be paying off.
After only a year with the extra hour, three-quarters of the schools saw improved reading scores on the state’s standardized test, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. Seventy of the schools earned their way off the lowest-performing list altogether.
“That extra time for reading instruction was really important for us,” said Kathy Shuler, who oversees the school transformation office in Orlando’s Orange County district, where all seven schools in the extra-hour reading program’s first year, 2012-13, improved their reading scores and are no longer on the list.
The Florida program arose from a 2012 law mandating the additional hour each day for “intensive reading instruction.” The law’s author, Republican state Sen. David Simmons, had taken note of a pilot program for four schools in 2007-08. Three boosted their school grades from D’s or F’s to C’s in Florida’s accountability ratings, and one vaulted to an A. He wanted to see more schools do what they had done.
“Done right, the benefits of this program are extensive and in some cases dramatic,” Sen. Simmons said.
Despite being a state mandate, the program has won over some school leaders and teachers. In fact, 30 schools that were required to participate in 2012-13 opted to keep it up this school year even though they’d gotten off the watch list.
Sen. Simmons said he hopes to persuade the legislature to expand the program, which does not come with any additional state aid, to all of Florida’s low-performing schools…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/22/18florida_ep.h33.html?tkn=UYNFBnWvn5QCgOj0j76PFewH7P7W8gII2h34&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Here is a PowerPoint of the legislative study http://www.edweek.org/media/18florida-extra-hour-presentation.pdf

OPPAGA Contacts
Mark West
Staff Director, Methodology
(850) 717-0534
west.mark@oppaga.fl.gov
Becky Vickers
Chief Legislative Analyst
(850) 717-0515
vickers.becky@oppaga.fl.gov
David Summers
Education Staff Director
(850) 717-0555
summers.david@oppaga.fl.gov

Motoko Rich reported in the New York Times article, To Increase Learning Time, Some Schools Add Days to Academic Year:

A typical public school calendar is 180 days, but the Balsz district, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is in session for 200 days, adding about a month to the academic year.
According to the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research group in Boston, about 170 schools — more than 140 of them charter schools — across the country have extended their calendars in recent years to 190 days or longer. ..
Education advocates have been calling for more school time at least since the 1983 “Nation at Risk” report presented an apocalyptic vision of American education.
Teachers’ unions, parents who want to preserve summers for family vacations and those who worry that children already come under too much academic stress argue that extended school time is not the answer. Research on longer school days or years also shows mixed results.
But studies also show that during the summer break, students — particularly those from low-income families — tend to forget what they learned in the school year. Getting back to school early, supporters of a longer calendar say, is one of the best ways to narrow an achievement gap between rich and poor students.
Many charter schools, including those in the academically successful KIPP network, attribute their achievement in part to longer days and calendars. President Obama has repeatedly promoted expanded school time, even inspiring “Saturday Night Live” to poke fun, with Seth Meyers saying in his Weekend Update segment that only “Catherine, the fifth grader nobody likes,” would support such a proposal.
Within the last two years, both the Ford Foundation and the Wallace Foundation have made multimillion dollar commitments to help nonprofit groups work with school districts to restructure the school day and year.
Advocates of longer school years say that the 180-day school year is an outdated artifact….
Critics say that with so many schools already failing, giving them more time would do little to help students.
“It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it….”
“Better is as important as the more,” said Jeannie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and scholarship programs at the Ford Foundation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/education/some-schools-adopting-longer-years-to-improve-learning.html?emc=eta1

See, Should summer break be shorter for some children? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/should-summer-break-be-shorter-for-some-children/

There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to education. For children who need a longer school year, that extra time should be available.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 – 1910)

So it is with schools. There are certain elements that successful schools share. The Wisconsin Department of Education has a good guide about successful schools. Chapter One, Characteristics of Successful Schools , lists key elements. http://cssch.dpi.wi.gov/cssch_cssfsc1

Like, unhappy families, failing schools are probably failing in their own way.

Resources:

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen , Time for School?Education Next, Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1 http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on School Day’s Length video … http://video.answers.com/education-secretary-arne-duncan-on-school-days-length-516897086

It seems everything old becomes new once again, although a relentless focus on the basics never went out of style.

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Report: Motivation and study key elements in math learning

1 Jan

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein.

https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

See, Motivation is increasingly researched as a key ingredient in student achievement https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/motivation-is-increasingly-researched-as-a-key-ingredient-in-student-achievement/

CEP’s report is Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient.

Here is a portion of the press release:

Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient

CEP Report Summarizes Research on Understanding, Spurring Motivation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2012 – A series of papers by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) underscores the need for teachers, schools, parents and communities to pay more attention to the role of student motivation in school reform. While there is no single strategy that works to motivate all students, or even the same student in all contexts, the many different sources reviewed by CEP suggest various approaches that can help improve student motivation, the report finds.

For example, programs that tailor support to individual students who are at risk of losing motivation, that foster “college-going” cultures in middle and high schools, or that partner wit low-income parents to create more stimulating home learning environments can increase motivation, the report notes, but only if they incorporate factors that research has shown to be effective.

The CEP report, Student Motivation—An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together findings about student motivation from decades of major research conducted by scholars, organizations, and practitioners. The six accompanying background papers examine a range of themes and approaches, from the motivational power of video games and social media to the promise and pitfalls of paying students for good grades… The summary paper, six background reports, and an appendix table outlining the major theories of motivation are available for free at http://www.cep-dc.org. For further information, contact Ali Diallo at 301-656-0348 or ali@thehatchergroup.com.

Summary Paper – Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform (PDF format, 598 KB) *
Background paper 4 – What roles do parent involvement, family background, and culture play in studen (PDF format, 155 KB) *
Background paper 2 – Can money or other rewards motivate students? (PDF format, 188 KB) *
Background paper 3 – Can goals motivate students? (PDF format, 247 KB) *
(PDF format, 172 KB) *
Background paper 5 – What can schools do to motivate students? (PDF format, 237 KB) *
Background paper 6 – What nontraditional approaches can motivate unenthusiastic students? (PDF format, 244 KB) *
Appendix – Theories of motivation (PDF format, 69.4 KB) *
Press Release (PDF format, 41.3 KB) *

The report discusses the role of parents.

Tia Ghose of LiveScience writes in the article, Math Skills In Children Attributed To Motivation And Study Techniques–Not IQ Score, Study Shows which was posted at Huffington Post.

Looks like Tiger Mom had it half-right: Motivation to work hard and good study techniques, not IQ, lead to better math skills, a new study shows. 

But there’s a catch: The findings, published this month in the journal Child Development, show that keeping children’s heads in the math books by force probably won’t help.

The analysis of more than 3,500 German children found those who started out solidly in the middle of the pack in 5th grade could jump to the 63rd percentile by 8th grade if they were very motivated and used effective learning strategies, said lead author Kou Murayama, a psychology researcher at the University of California Los Angeles.

“The growth in math achievement was predicted by motivation and learning strategies,” Murayama told LiveScience. “Given that IQ did not show this kind of effect, we think this is impressive.”

Math on the brain

Just how innate math skills are is a controversial question. Some studies show that math skills emerge in babies, while others show that culture plays a huge role in shaping those skills.

For instance, men consistently outperform women on standardized math tests. But those differences may be due to math anxiety, or cultural influences, other studies have shown.

And in opinion surveys, people in Eastern countries often rate effort as most important to math ability, while Westerners typically say math ability is inborn. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/30/math-skills-children-motivation-study-iq_n_2382036.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Citation:

Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students’ Mathematics Achievement: The Unique Contributions of Motivation and Cognitive Strategies

  1. Kou Murayama1,*,
  2. Reinhard Pekrun1,
  3. Stephanie Lichtenfeld1,
  4. Rudolf vom Hofe2

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12036

© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

Additional Information(Show All)

How to CiteAuthor InformationPublication HistoryFunding Information

  1. This study was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship (to K. Murayama) and four grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG; to R. Pekrun, Project for the Analysis of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics, PALMA; PE 320/11-1, PE 320/11-2, PE 320/11-3, PE 320/11-4).

It will not be popular on many fronts to acknowledge that motivation and effort are also part of the academic achievement solution.

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Motivation is increasingly researched as a key ingredient in student achievement

2 Oct

Moi wrote in It’s the culture and the values, stupid:

Every week in the Seattle Stranger there is a column I, Anonymous , which gives one reader the chance to rant anonymously about any topic or person that has provoked such a reaction that venting and a good old fashion rant is necessary. Sometimes, the rants are poetic or touching. Most of the time, they are just plain hilarious. This is a recent rant, which is from a teacher, not an educator

I say hello with a big smile every morning as you shuffle in the door, but I secretly seethe with hatred for almost each and every one of you. Your stupidity and willful ignorance know no bounds. I have seen a lot of morons in my 10 years of teaching high school, but you guys take the cake. Your intellectual curiosity is nonexistent, your critical thinking skills are on par with that of a head trauma victim, and for a group of people who have never accomplished anything in their lives, you sure have a magnified sense of entitlement. I often wonder if your parents still wipe your asses for you, because you certainly don’t seem to be able to do anything on your own.
A handful of you are nice, sweet kids. That small group will go on and live a joyful and intellectual life filled with love, adventure, and discovery. The vast majority of you useless fuckwits will waste your life and follow in the footsteps of your equally pathetic parents. Enjoy your future of wage slavery and lower-middle-class banality.
Amazing how teachers are blamed for the state of education in this country. Look what you give us to work with. I am done trying to teach the unteachable.

Moi doesn’t blame most teachers for the state of education in this country, but puts the blame on the culture and the unprepared and disengaged parents that culture has produced. Moi also blames a culture of moral relativism as well which says there really are no preferred options. There are no boundaries, I can do what I feel is right for ME. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/04/its-the-culture-and-the-values-stupid/

Moi wrote about student motivation in Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform:

CEP’s report is Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient.

Here is the press release:

Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient

CEP Report Summarizes Research on Understanding, Spurring Motivation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2012 – A series of papers by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) underscores the need for teachers, schools, parents and communities to pay more attention to the role of student motivation in school reform. While there is no single strategy that works to motivate all students, or even the same student in all contexts, the many different sources reviewed by CEP suggest various approaches that can help improve student motivation, the report finds.

For example, programs that tailor support to individual students who are at risk of losing motivation, that foster “college-going” cultures in middle and high schools, or that partner wit low-income parents to create more stimulating home learning environments can increase motivation, the report notes, but only if they incorporate factors that research has shown to be effective.

The CEP report, Student Motivation—An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together findings about student motivation from decades of major research conducted by scholars, organizations, and practitioners. The six accompanying background papers examine a range of themes and approaches, from the motivational power of video games and social media to the promise and pitfalls of paying students for good grades. Each paper covers one of these six broad topics….https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

Educational Testing Service has produced a report which also looks at student motivation.

Here is the press release from the Educational Testing Service:

ETS Study of Higher Education Outcomes Assessments Shows Student Motivation Has Significant Impact on Results

Contact:

Princeton, N.J. (September 25, 2012) —

With increasing pressure for accountability in higher education, outcomes assessments have been an important resource in evaluating learning and informing policy. Today, a report produced by ETS researchers titled “Measuring Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: Motivation Matters” provides evidence that simply modifying the pre-test instructions to increase motivation has a significant impact on scores on a commonly used higher education outcomes assessment, the ETS® Proficiency Profile. The report has been accepted for publication in the journal, Educational Researcher.

“The findings in this report provide institutions with strong empirical evidence that motivation matters. The report also demonstrates various practical strategies that, at low cost, could improve student performance by increasing motivation,” said David Payne, Chief Operating Officer of the Higher Education Division at ETS.  “The ETS Proficiency Profile has an established history of measuring program effectiveness and assessing student proficiency in core academic skill areas through its multiple choice format.”

The key findings in the report include evidence that

  • motivation has a statistically significant and substantial impact on scores,
  • motivational strategies used in this study are effective in improving students’ motivation and test scores, and
  • conclusions about college learning gains (value-added learning) could change dramatically depending on the levels of motivation of the test takers and  the format of the test (i.e., multiple-choice or constructed-response).

“Prior to this study, there was little empirical evidence supporting the claim that motivation matters in the use of standardized, general outcomes assessments,” said Ou Lydia Liu, Research Scientist at ETS and Project Director of this study. “Policymakers, in particular, will find value in the results of this report because it demonstrates how prior research that reported limited college learning likely underestimated student performance by not considering the low motivation of some students in taking low-stakes tests. With the implementation of motivational strategies used in this report, institutions are likely to see more accurate and higher estimates of their students’ performance.”

For some time, researchers, institutional administrators and policy makers have questioned the role of motivation on outcomes assessments. This study has identified the magnitude of effect of motivation on test scores and provided practical strategies that institutions can use to boost student performance.

To read the executive summary for the report, visit http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/proficiencyprofile/motivation_summary

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the ETS Proficiency Profile, the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

See, Study: Lack of Motivation Has Impact on Testing Accuracy http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/study-lack-of-motivation-has-impact-on-testing-accuracy/

Citation:

Measuring Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: Motivation Matters

Executive Summary

Ou Lydia Liu, Brent Bridgeman, & Rachel Adler

Educational Testing Service                                                                 http://www.ets.org/s/proficiencyprofile/pdf/executive_summary.pdf

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

Related:

School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society                                             https://drwilda.com/2012/02/01/school-absenteeism-absent-from-the-classroom-leads-to-absence-from-participation-in-this-society/

Helping at-risk children start a home library                          https://drwilda.com/2012/06/13/helping-at-risk-children-start-a-home-library/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                   https://drwilda.com/

Important Harvard report about U.S. student achievement ranking

23 Jul

More and more, individuals with gravitas are opining about the American education system for reasons ranging from national security to economic competitiveness. In Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein report about American Education, moi wrote:

The Council on Foreign Relations has issued the report, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The chairs for the report are Joel I. Klein, News Corporation and Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University. Moi opined about the state of education in U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/u-s-education-failure-running-out-of-excuses/ Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/condoleezza-rice-and-joel-klein-report-about-american-education/

Citation:

U.S. Education Reform and National Security

Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press

Release Date March 2012

Price $15.00

108 pages
ISBN 978-0-87609-520-1
Task Force Report No. 68

Related:

Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post,Schools Report: Failing To Prepare Students Hurts National Security, Prosperity http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/schools-report-condoleezza-rice-joel-klein_n_1365144.html Now, there is another report, “Is the United States Catching Up? International and state trends in student achievement,” will be released by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG).  Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, and Ludger Woessmann conducted the study, which is available at www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/.  An article based on the report will appear in the Fall issue of Education Next and is available online at www.educationnext.org.

Here is the press release for Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance:

CONTACT:

Paul E. Peterson (617) 495-8312 pepeters@fas.harvard.edu Harvard University
Eric A. Hanushek  hanushek@stanford.edu Stanford University
Ludger Woessmann  woessmann@ifo.de University of Munich
Janice B. Riddell  (203) 912-8675  janice_riddell@hks.harvard.edu External Relations, Education Next

Student Achievement Gains in U.S. Fail to Close International Achievement Gap

U.S. ranks 25th out of 49 countries in student test-score gains over 14-year period, report 3 scholars at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Munich

CAMBRIDGE, MA – A new study of international and U.S. state trends in student achievement growth shows that the United States is squarely in the middle of a group of 49 nations in 4th and 8th grade test score gains in math, reading, and science over the period 1995-2009.

Students in three countries – Latvia, Chile, and Brazil – are improving at a rate of 4 percent of a standard deviation annually, roughly two years’ worth of learning or nearly three times that of the United States.  Students in another eight countries – Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia, and Lithuania – are making gains at twice the rate of U.S. students.

The report, “Is the United States Catching Up? International and state trends in student achievement,” will be released by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG).  Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, and Ludger Woessmann conducted the study, which is available at www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/.  An article based on the report will appear in the Fall issue of Education Next and is available online at www.educationnext.org.

Compared to gains made by students in other countries, “progress within the United States is middling, not stellar,” notes Peterson, Harvard professor and PEPG director, with 24 countries trailing the U.S. rate of improvement and another 24 that appear to be improving at a faster rate.  While U.S. students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests improved in absolute terms between 1995 and 2011, U.S. progress was not sufficiently rapid to allow it to catch up with the leaders of the industrialized world.

Rates of improvement varied among states.  Maryland had the steepest achievement growth trend, followed by Florida, Delaware, and Massachusetts.  Between 1992 and 2011, these states posted growth rates of 3.1 to 3.3 percent of a standard deviation annually, well over a full year’s worth of learning during the time period. The U.S. average of 1.6 standard deviations was about half that of the top states.

The other six states among the top ten improvers were Louisiana, South Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Virginia.  States with the largest gains are improving at two to three times the rate of states with the smallest gains – such as Iowa, Maine, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

The study raises questions about education goal setting in the United States, which “has often been utopian rather than realistic,” according to Eric Hanushek, who cites the 1990 Governors’ goal calling for the U.S. to be “first in the world in math and science by 2000” as an example.  More realistic expectations would call for states to move closer to annual growth rates of the most-improving states.  These gains would, over a 15-20 year period, “bring the United States within the range of the world’s leaders.”

Other findings include:

  • States in which students improved the most overall were also the states that had the largest percent reduction in students with very low achievement.
  • Southern states, which began to adopt education reform measures in the 1990s, outpaced Midwestern states, where school reform made little headway until very recently.  Five of the top 10 states were in the South and no southern states were in the bottom 18.
  • No significant correlation was found between increased spending on education and test score gains.  For example, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey posted large gains in student performance after boosting spending, but New York, Wyoming, and West Virginia had only marginal test-score gains to show from increased expenditures.

International results are based on 28 administrations of comparable math, science, and reading tests over the period 1995-2009.  The authors adjusted both the mean and the standard deviation of each international test, allowing them to estimate trends on the international tests on a common scale normed to the 2000 NAEP tests.  Student performance on 36 administrations of math, reading, and science tests in 41 U.S. states was examined over a 19-year period (1992-2011), allowing for a comparison of these states with each other.  For more information on the study and its methodology, please see an unabridged version of the report, which are available at www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/ and at www.educationnext.org.

About the Authors

Eric A. Hanushek is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard and director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.  Ludger Woessmann is head of the Department of Human Capital and Innovation at the Ifo Institute at the University of Munich.  The authors are available for interviews.

About Education Next

Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform.  Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, part of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

For more information on the Program on Education Policy and Governance contact Antonio Wendland at 617-495-7976, pepg_administrator@hks.harvard.edu, or visit www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg.

Citation:

Achievement Growth:

International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance

by Eric A. HanushekPaul E. Peterson Ludger Woessmann

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/PEPG12-03_CatchingUp.pdf

See, U.S. Students Still Lag Behind Foreign Peers, Schools Make Little Progress In Improving Achievement http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/us-students-still-lag-beh_n_1695516.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is a portion of the concluding remarks from page 21:

The failure of the United States to close the international test-score gap, despite assiduous public assertions that every effort would be undertaken to produce that objective, raises questions about the nation’s overall reform strategy. Education goal setting in the United States has often been utopian rather than realistic. In 1990, the president and the nation’s governors announced the goal that all American students should graduate from high school, but two decades later only 75 percent of 9th-graders received their diploma within four years after entering high school. In 2002, Congress passed a law that declared that all students in all grades shall be proficient in math, reading, and science by 2014, but in 2012 most observers found that goal utterly beyond reach. Currently, the U.S. Department of Education has committed itself to ensuring that all students shall be college or career ready as they cross the stage on their high-school graduation day, another overly ambitious goal.

Perhaps the most unrealistic goal was that of the governors in 1990 when they called for the United States to achieve number-one ranking in the world in math and science by 2000. As this study shows, the United States is neither first nor is it catching up.

Consider a more realistic set of objectives for education policymakers, one that comes from our experience. If all U.S. states could increase their performance at the same rate as the highest-growth states—Maryland, Florida, Delaware, and Massachusetts—the U.S. improvement rate would be lifted by 1.5 percentage points of a std. dev. annually above the current trend line. Since student performance can improve at that rate in some countries and in some states, then, in principle, such gains can be made more generally. Those gains might seem small, but when viewed over two decades they accumulate to 30 percent of a std. dev., enough to bring the United States within the range of the world’s leaders—unless, of course, they, too, continue to improve.

Such progress need not come at the expense of either the lowest-performing or the highest-performing students. In most states, a rising tide lifted all boats. Only in a few instances did the tide rise while leaving a disproportionate number stuck at the bottom, and most, if not all of the time, the high flyers moved ahead as well.

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Related:

Report from Center for American Progress report: Kids say school is too easy                                              https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/report-from-center-for-american-progress-report-kids-say-school-is-too-easy/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

Book: Inequality in America affects education outcome https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/book-inequality-in-america-affects-education-outcome/

What exactly are the education practices of top-performing nations?                                       http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/what-exactly-are-the-education-practices-of-top-performing-nations/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform

30 May

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein. In Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein report about American Education, moi said:

The Council on Foreign Relations has issued the report, U.S. Education Reform and National Security. The chairs for the report are Joel I. Klein, News Corporation and Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University. Moi opined about the state of education in U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/u-s-education-failure-running-out-of-excuses/ Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids

Jay Mathews of the Washington Post is reporting in the article, U.S. school excuses challenged about a new book by Marc S. Tucker, “Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems.” In his book, Tucker examines some of the excuses which have been used to justify the failure of the American education system.

Citation:

U.S. Education Reform and National Security

Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press

Release Date March 2012

Price $15.00

108 pages
ISBN 978-0-87609-520-1
Task Force Report No. 68

Related:

Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post,Schools Report: Failing To Prepare Students Hurts National Security, Prosperity http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/schools-report-condoleezza-rice-joel-klein_n_1365144.html

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/condoleezza-rice-and-joel-klein-report-about-american-education/

CEP’s report is Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient.

Here is the press release:

Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient

CEP Report Summarizes Research on Understanding, Spurring Motivation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2012 – A series of papers by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) underscores the need for teachers, schools, parents and communities to pay more attention to the role of student motivation in school reform. While there is no single strategy that works to motivate all students, or even the same student in all contexts, the many different sources reviewed by CEP suggest various approaches that can help improve student motivation, the report finds.

For example, programs that tailor support to individual students who are at risk of losing motivation, that foster “college-going” cultures in middle and high schools, or that partner wit low-income parents to create more stimulating home learning environments can increase motivation, the report notes, but only if they incorporate factors that research has shown to be effective.

The CEP report, Student Motivation—An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together findings about student motivation from decades of major research conducted by scholars, organizations, and practitioners. The six accompanying background papers examine a range of themes and approaches, from the motivational power of video games and social media to the promise and pitfalls of paying students for good grades. Each paper covers one of these six broad topics:

What Is Motivation and Why Does It Matter?

Can Money and Other Rewards Motivate Students?

Can Goals Motivate Students?

What Roles Do Parents, Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation?

What Can Schools Do To Better Motivate Students?

What Nontraditional Approaches to Learning Can Motivate Unenthusiastic Students?

Student motivation isn’t a fixed quality but can be influenced in positive or negative ways by students’ experiences and by important people in their lives,” said Alexandra Usher, CEP senior research assistant and lead author of the summary report and background papers. “How teachers teach, how schools are organized, and other key elements of school reform can be designed in ways that may either encourage or discourage motivation.” The summary report and accompanying papers highlight actions that teachers, school leaders,

parents, and communities can take to foster student motivation. The following are just a few of the many ideas included in the report:

Programs that reward academic accomplishments are most effective when they reward students for mastering certain skills or increasing their understanding rather than rewarding them for reaching a performance target or outperforming others.

Tests are more motivating when students have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through low-stakes tests, performance tasks, or frequent assessments that gradually increase in difficulty before they take a high-stakes test.

Professional development can help teachers encourage student motivation by sharing ideas for increasing student autonomy, emphasizing mastery over performance, and creating classroom environments where students can take risks without fear of failure

Parents can foster their children’s motivation by emphasizing effort over ability and praising children when they’ve mastered new skills or knowledge instead of praising their innate intelligence. Many aspects of motivation are not fully understood, the report and background papers caution, and most programs or studies that have shown some positive results have been small or geographically concentrated. “Because much about motivation is not known, this series of papers should be viewed as a springboard for discussion by policymakers, educators, and parents rather than a conclusive research review,” said Nancy Kober, CEP consultant and coauthor of the summary report. “This series can also give an important context to media stories about student achievement, school improvement, or other key education reform issues.”

The summary paper, six background reports, and an appendix table outlining the major theories of motivation are available for free at http://www.cep-dc.org. For further information, contact Ali Diallo at 301-656-0348 or ali@thehatchergroup.com.

####

Based in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and

Human Development, and founded in January 1995 by Jack Jennings, the Center on Education Policy is

a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center

works to help Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to

improve the academic quality of public schools. The Center does not represent any special interests.

Download files:

Summary Paper – Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform (PDF format, 598 KB) *
Background paper 1 – What is motivation and why does it matter? (PDF format, 155 KB) *
Background paper 2 – Can money or other rewards motivate students? (PDF format, 188 KB) *
Background paper 3 – Can goals motivate students? (PDF format, 247 KB) *
Background paper 4 – What roles do parent involvement, family background, and culture play in studen (PDF format, 172 KB) *
Background paper 5 – What can schools do to motivate students? (PDF format, 237 KB) *
Background paper 6 – What nontraditional approaches can motivate unenthusiastic students? (PDF format, 244 KB) *
Appendix – Theories of motivation (PDF format, 69.4 KB) *
Press Release (PDF format, 41.3 KB) *

The report discusses the role of parents.

In Paul E. Peterson will piss you off, you might want to listen, moi said:

Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children, after all, you and your child should not be raising each other. Moi said this in Hard truths: The failure of the family:

This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me firstphilosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of Katrina, the real genocide is self-inflicted. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/ It is interesting that the ruling elites do not want to touch the issue of unwed births with a ten thousand foot pole. After all, that would violate some one’s right to _____. Let moi fill in the blank, the right to be stupid, probably live in poverty, and not be able to give your child the advantages that a more prepared parent can give a child because to tell you to your face that you are an idiot for not using birth control is not P.C.

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/paul-e-peterson-will-piss-you-off-you-might-want-to-listen/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Study: Teacher turnover adversely affects students

21 Mar

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise

With approximately 1.6 million teachers set to retire in the next decade, replenishing America’s teaching force should be a top priority. But filling classrooms with new teachers is only half the battle. Retaining them is equally important.

Numerous studies show that teachers perform best after being in the classroom for at least five years. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of American teachers leave after only one year, and 46 percent quit before their fifth year. In countries with the highest results on international tests, teacher turnover rates are much lower—around 3 percent.

This constant cycling in and out of new teachers is a costly phenomena. Students miss being taught by experienced educators, and schools and districts nationwide spend about $2.2 billion per year recruiting and training replacements.

Why are so many new teachers fleeing the profession after so few years in the classroom? Here are the top five reasons teacher turnover is an ongoing challenge:

5. BURNOUT: A recent U.C. Berkeley study of Los Angeles charter schools found unusually high rates of teacher turnover. At the 163 charter schools studied, teacher turnover hovered around 40 percent, compared to 15 percent at traditional public schools.

Since demands on charter school educators are seemingly boundless, including extended hours, researchers theorized, burnout is a viable explanation for the teacher exodus. “We have seen earlier results showing that working conditions are tough and challenging in charter schools,” explained U.C. Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller. “Charter teachers wear many hats and have many duties and are teaching urban kids, challenging urban kids, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this effect.”

4.THREAT OF LAYOFFS: In response to annual budget shortfalls, districts nationwide have sent pink slips to tens of thousands of teachers each spring for the past four years. In 2011, California sent out 30,000….

3. LOW WAGES: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that teachers should earn between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. That’s a far cry from the current national average starting salary for teachers, which is $35,139….

2. TESTING PRESSURE: Since the No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001, standardized test scores in math and reading have become the most important accountability measure used to evaluate schools.

Studies show that pressure to raise student test scores causes teachers to experience more stress and less job satisfaction. Many educators resent narrowing curriculum and stifling creativity in favor of teaching to the test.

On the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” the majority of comments submitted by survey respondents were “expressions of strong opposition to the current emphasis on student testing.”

As states increasingly rely on standardized test scores to evaluate individual educators, determine teacher pay and make lay-off decisions, testing pressure will only increase.

1. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS: When the Gates foundation polled 40,000 teachers about job satisfaction, the majority agreed that supportive leadership, time for collaboration, access to high quality curriculum and resources, clean and safe buildings, and relevant professional development were even more important than higher salaries.

But working conditions in many public schools remain far from this ideal—especially for beginning teachers, who are most likely to be assigned to the highest-need schools. Despite the added challenges they face, these teachers are often given few resources and little professional support.

Since many teachers will be leaving the profession in the next few years, the question is what effect teacher departures have on students.

Matthew Ronfeldt, University of Michigan, Susanna Loeb, Stanford University, and Jim Wyckoff, University of Virginia have written the study, How teacher turnover harms student achievement. Here are their findings:

This study finds some of the first empirical evidence for a direct effect of teacher turnover on student achievement. Results suggest that teacher turnover has a significant and negative impact on student achievement in both math and ELA. Moreover, teacher turnover is particularly harmful to the achievement of students in schools with large populations of low-performing and black students.

Much of the existing literature assumes that teacher turnover impacts student achievement by changing the distribution in quality of teachers in schools. That is, if the teachers who leave a school are worse than those who replace them, then turnover is assumed to have a net positive effect. In this view, stayers, and their students, are merely bystanders who do not affect and are not affected by turnover. Although this study finds evidence that changes in teacher quality explain some of the effect of turnover on student achievement, the results suggest there may be a disruptive impact of turnover beyond compositional changes in teacher quality. First, results show that turnover has a harmful effect on student achievement, even after controlling for different indicators of teacher quality, especially in lower-performing schools. Also, we find that turnover negatively affects the students of stayers – those who remain in the same school from one year to the next.

Thus, turnover must have an impact beyond simply whether incoming teachers are better than those they replaced – even the teachers outside of this redistribution are somehow harmed by it. Although this study does not identify the specific mechanism by which turnover harms students, it provides guidance on where to look. The findings indicate that turnover has a broader, harmful influence on student achievement since it can reach beyond just those students of teachers who left or of those that replaced them. Any explanation for the effect of turnover must possess these characteristics. One possibility is that turnover negatively affects collegiality or relational trust among faculty; or perhaps turnover results in loss of institutional knowledge among faculty that is critical for supporting student learning. More research is needed to identify the specific mechanism….

Finally, the findings of this study have policy implications. Though there may be cases where turnover is actually helpful to student achievement, on average, it is harmful. This indicates that schools would benefit from policies aimed at keeping grade level teams in tact over time. One possibility might be to introduce incentive structures to retain teachers that might leave otherwise. Implementing such policies may be especially important in schools with large populations of lowperforming and black students, where turnover has the strongest negative effect on student achievement.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/TchTrnStAch%20AERJ%20R%26R%20not%20blind.pdf

If this society is serious about educating ALL children, then there must be strategies to reduce teacher turnover and burnout.

Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Center onReinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief. In Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways School Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools Districts Roza and Yatsko report:

Inside nearly all large school districts, the most experienced and highly paid teachers congregate in the more affluent schools. The opposite takes place in the poorer schools, where teachers tend to be more junior and lower paid, and teacher turnover is higher. Financially, this maldistribution means that a larger share of the district’s salary dollars are spent on the more affluent schools, and conversely, the poorer schools with lower salaries draw down less funds per pupil. The problem, of course, is that the resulting dollar allocation patterns work to reinforce achievement gaps, not address them…

This brief addresses this concern by demonstrating that districts would NOT need to mandatorily reassign teachers. It shows that there are other ways to restructure allocations that do not systematically shortchange the neediest schools. Discussed here are four options that districts could pursue to remedy school spending inequities created by uneven salaries:

  • Option 1: Apply teacher salary bonuses to some schools to balance salaries

  • Option 2: Vary class size across schools to level spending

  • Option 3: Concentrate specialist and support staff in schools with lower-salaried teachers

  • Option 4: Equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Download Full Report (PDF: 736 K)

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. Teachers must be compensated fairly for their work. Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative New York Times article, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries The Center forAmerican Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©