The role of assessment in driving up standards IFS ...
What difference does teacher quality make to social class inequalities? LERN/IoE/DEBRe Conference: Socio-economic status, social class and education; London, UK: May 2009 Dylan Wiliam www.dylanwiliam.net Overview: science and design We need to improve average student achievement We need to narrow achievement gaps Both require improving teacher quality Improving the quality of entrants takes too long So we have to make the teachers we have better
We can change teachers in a range of ways Some will benefit students, and some will not. Those that do tend to involve changes in teacher practice Changing practice requires new kinds of teacher learning And new models of professional development. Scienc e Design Looking for answers in the wrong place Three generations of school effectiveness research Raw results approaches Different schools get different results Conclusion: Schools make a difference Demographic-based approaches
Demographic factors account for most of the variation Conclusion: Schools dont make a difference Value-added approaches School-level differences in value-added are relatively small Classroom-level differences in value-added are large Conclusion: An effective school is a school full of effective classrooms 100 80 60 Within schools 40 20 0
Turkey Hungary . Japan . Belgium . Italy. .Germany Austria .Netherlands . Czech Korea Republic . Slovak . Greece . Republic Switzerland . Luxembourg .
Portugal . Mexico . . United . Australia States New.. Zealand SpainCanada . . Ireland . Denmark . Poland . Sweden . Norway . Finland . Icela . -20
-40 -60 -80 Between schools Within schools Between schools explained by social background of schools Between schools explained by social background of students Between schools not explained by social background OECD PISA data from McGaw, 2008 Teachers matter In many countries, classroom variability is at least 4 times school level variability Its not class size or the between- or within-class grouping strategy
Its the teacher The commodification of teachers has received widespread support: From teacher unions (who understandably resist performance-related pay) From politicians (so the focus is on teacher supply, rather than teacher quality) Having a good rather than weak teacher (1sd) increases performance by more than one GCSE grade Being taught by the best teacher from a group of 50 means that a student will learn at four times the rate of a student taught by the worst teacher in that group And the gains for the lowest attainers are greater than for average students So that in the classrooms of the best teachers Students with behavioural difficulties learn as much as those without Students from disadvantaged backgrounds do as well as those from advantaged backgrounds (Hamre & Pianta, 2005) more for some than others Impact of teacher quality on student outcomes (Hamre & Pianta, 2005))
Achievement gaps Disadvantaged background (mothers education) Poor behavior Teachers provision of instructional support High No (good) Average No (good) Low
Yes (bad) High Teachers provision of emotional support High Yes (bad) Average Yes (bad) Low Yes (bad) High Yes (bad)
Average Yes (bad) Low Yes (bad) No (good) Average Yes (bad) Low Yes (bad) Two ways to make teachers better Replace existing teachers with better ones Important, but very slow, and of limited impact Teach for America/Teach First (at most 1% of teaching force) Raising the bar for entry to teaching Improve the effectiveness of existing teachers Not because they are not good enough, but because they can be better (so good enough is not good enough) The love the one youre with strategy
It can be done Provided we focus rigorously on the things that matter to students Even when theyre hard to do Raising the bar for entry to teaching 1000 Mean: 50 1000 800 800 600
Lowest 30% removed 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Teacher quality is too slow The correlation between teacher quality and student progress is around 0.2 This means that raising teacher quality by one standard deviation will increase student progress by 0.2 standard deviations Raising the bar for entry into the profession so that we no longer recruit the lowest performing 30% of teachers would over twenty to thirty years, increase average teacher quality by 0.5 standard deviations. This would increase student achievement by 0.1 standard deviations an increase of the speed of student learning of 25-30%, or, put another way
an increase in the average score on a typical test of one point (e.g. from 50 to 51) A small, but valuable effect (annual value of 8bn) So our policies need to be more specific The dark matter of teacher quality Teachers make a difference But what makes the difference in teachers? Advanced content matter knowledge Pedagogical content knowledge Further professional qualifications (MA, NBPTS) Total explained difference <5% 10-15% <5% 20-25%
Cost/effect comparisons Intervention Extra months of learning per year Cost/classroom/yr Class-size reduction (by 30%) 4 20k Increase teacher
content knowledge from weak to strong 2 ? Formative assessment/ Assessment for learning 8 2k The formative assessment hi-jack Long-cycle Span: across units, terms
Length: four weeks to one year Impact: Student monitoring; curriculum alignment Medium-cycle Span: within and between teaching units Length: one to four weeks Impact: Improved, student-involved, assessment; teacher cognition about learning Short-cycle Span: within and between lessons Length: day-by-day: 24 to 48 hours minute-by-minute: 5 seconds to 2 hours Impact: classroom practice; student engagement Unpacking formative assessment Key processes Establishing where the learners are in their learning Establishing where they are going
Working out how to get there Participants Teachers Peers Learners and one big idea Use evidence about learning to adapt teaching and learning to meet student needs Aspects of formative assessment Where the learner is going Where the learner is
How to get there Teacher Clarify and share learning intentions Engineering effective discussions, tasks and activities that elicit evidence of learning
Providing feedback that moves learners forward Peer Understand and share learning intentions Activating students as learning resources for one another Understand learning intentions
Activating students as owners of their own learning Learner Keeping Learning on Track (KLT) A pilot guides a plane or boat toward its destination by taking constant readings and making careful adjustments in response to wind, currents, weather, etc. A good teacher does the same: Plans a carefully chosen route ahead of time (in essence building the track) Takes readings along the way Changes course as conditions dictate Looking at the wrong knowledge The most powerful teacher knowledge is not explicit
Thats why telling teachers what to do doesnt work What we know is more than we can say And that is why most professional development has been relatively ineffective Improving practice involves changing habits, not adding knowledge Thats why its hard And the hardest bit is not getting new ideas into peoples heads Its getting the old ones out Thats why it takes time But it doesnt happen naturally If it did, the most experienced teachers would be the best, and we know thats not so (Hanushek, 2005) We need to create systematic approaches to, and spaces for, teacher learning Two competing drivers in design Some reforms are too loose e.g., the Effective schools movement Allows customization to the local context
But can suffer from lethal mutations Some reforms are too tight e.g., Montessori Schools Undoubtedly effective Not possible to implement everywhere Fails to capitalize on affordances in the local context Designing for scale: tight but loose In-principle scalability requires A single model for the whole school But which honours the specifities of each subject and age-range Understanding what it means to scale (Coburn, 2003) Depth Sustainability Spread Shift in reform ownership Consideration of the diversity of contexts of application
Clarity about components, and the theory of action The tight but loose formulation combines an obsessive adherence to central design principles (the tight part) with accommodations to the needs, resources, constraints, and particularities that occur in any school or district (the loose part), but only where these do not conflict with the theory of action of the intervention. So what do we need? What is needed from teachers A commitment to: the continuous improvement of practice focus on those things that make a difference to student outcomes What is needed from leaders A commitment to:
creating expectations for the continuous improvement of practice ensuring that the the focus stays on those things that make a difference to student outcomes providing the time, space, dispensation and support for innovation supporting risk-taking What is needed from the system A signature pedagogy for teacher learning Signature pedagogies In Law In Medicine A signature pedagogy for teacher learning? Monthly meetings of teacher learning communities (TLCs) of 8-10
teachers that follow the same structure and sequence Activity 1: Introduction & Housekeeping (5 minutes) Activity 2: Hows It Going (35 minutes) Activity 3: New Learning about formative assessment (20 minutes) Activity 4: Personal Action Planning (10 minutes) Activity 5: Summary of Learning (5 minutes) Peer observations between TLC meetings Run to the agenda of the observed, not the observer Summary Raising achievement is important Raising achievement requires improving teacher quality Improving teacher quality requires teacher professional development To be effective, teacher professional development must address What teachers do in the classroom How teachers change what they do in the classroom Formative assessment + Teacher learning communities
A point of (uniquely?) high leverage A Trojan Horse into wider issues of pedagogy, psychology, and curriculum
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