Skip main content and go to side content

Where am I?

Retaining Teacher Talent

Report 3. Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers’ Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas

What do teachers who perceive themselves to be effective believe will improve overall teacher effectiveness?

Teacher Perceptions of Policy Options

Reducing Class Size by Approximately Five Students

What Teachers Say


What Researchers Say

Reducing class size for students in Grades K–3 has been shown to have a meaningful and lasting effect on student achievement (Finn & Achilles, 1990; Nye, Hedges, & Konstantopoulos, 2002), particularly for African-American students (Krueger & Whitmore, 2001). The impact of reducing high school classes by five students, however, has been found to be positive but barely perceptible. Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor (2007) found that having a teacher with strong credentials has an impact on student achievement that is 14 times greater than reducing class size by five students. Moreover, simple class size reduction is quite expensive, and if it is implemented by hiring new, untrained teachers to cover newly constituted classes, its impact is disappointing at best, particularly for minority and rural students (Jepson & Rivkin, 2002) who are usually assigned the newest, least trained teachers (Imazeki & Goe, 2009). Even when controlling for teacher quality, however, it does not appear to benefit low-achieving students as much as it does high-achieving students (Nye, Hedges, & Konstantopoulos, 2002). Unfortunately, the existing research does not provide insight into how class size reduction changes instruction or how teachers might best adapt their instruction to take advantage of smaller classes (Cohen, Raudenbush, & Ball, 2002). Thus, the question of how it could improve teacher effectiveness and why it does for some students and not others remains unanswered. There is also a dearth of rigorous research on how class size reduction influences teacher recruitment and retention.


 

Preparing Teachers to Adapt or Vary Their Instruction to Meet
the Needs of a Diverse Classroom

What Teachers Say

What Researchers Say

As a bundle of practices and strategies (e.g., grouping students, adapting curricular materials, using alternative assessment techniques, creating learning centers, creating independent study opportunities), differentiated or personalized instruction lacks solid empirical grounding in terms of its impact on teacher effectiveness. Nevertheless, differentiated instruction is based in years of educational theory and research suggesting that students learn differently at different rates and so teaching must respond actively to individual learners (Tomlinson, 2001). How to prepare teachers to do this well is a continuing challenge for teacher preparation and induction programs, particularly for inclusive classrooms (Holdheide & Reschly, 2008).


 

1 More research has been done on the use of the “time out” strategy in classrooms, which can be used effectively to reduce disruptive behavior (Vegas, Jenson, & Kircher, 2007) and likely leads to improved student learning. However, there are several different forms of “time out,” and excluding students from the classroom remains understudied in terms of its impact on both behavior and learning (Ryan, Sanders, Katsiyannis, & Yell, 2007).

 

<< Previous | Next >>

Go back to main content | Go back to main navigation

Go back to main content | Go back to main navigation

Go back to main content | Go back to main navigation