Its quality not size

The SMH reports:

New research suggests that reducing class sizes fails to improve student performance at school and the government would do better to focus on improving teacher quality.

It found mandated class-size reductions of two to three students – costing $1500 a student or $1 million a school each year – resulted in no significant improvement in academic outcomes for students in Florida.

Yet this is what the PPTA is striking over – class sizes.

Dr Jensen said a student with a teacher in the top 10 per cent of the profession can achieve in six months what a student with a poor teacher can achieve in a year.

The PPTA, if i truly wanted to lift educational standards, should demand performance pay. They should go on strike unless the Government agrees to pay the best teachers more money.

He said Australia needed to improve the effectiveness of all teachers by 10 per cent or improve the poorest teachers by 14 per cent.

This would help students learn 5 per cent more each year and improve Australia’s declining performance in world rankings of student performance.

And what a difference it can make:

”Improving teacher effectiveness would have a greater impact on economic growth than any other reform before Australian governments,” Dr Jensen said in his report.

”The improvement in student learning could lift Australian students to the top of international performance tables.”

He argues that this in turn would lift productivity, increasing growth by $90 billion by 2050, making Australians 12 per cent richer by the turn of the century.

Dr Jensen said to achieve this, governments would need to take their focus off reducing class sizes. ”The vast majority of studies around the world have shown that class-size reductions do not significantly improve schooling and student outcomes,” he said.

”Initiatives to improve teacher effectiveness not only help students more, they cost much less.”

Of course the unions don’t even want teacher effectiveness measured.

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