What Works in Education

December 20th, 2010

Sam Dillon wrote an interesting piece on teacher evaluation in a recent New York Times article entitled “What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students.” He concludes his article by referencing the findings of a study conducted by the Gates Foundation.

One notable early finding, Ms. Phillips said, is that teachers who incessantly drill their students to prepare for standardized tests tend to have lower value-added learning gains than those who simply work their way methodically through the key concepts of literacy and mathematics.

Teachers whose students agreed with the statement, “We spend a lot of time in this class practicing for the state test,” tended to make smaller gains on those exams than other teachers.

“Teaching to the test makes your students do worse on the tests,” Ms. Phillips said. “It turns out all that ‘drill and kill’ isn’t helpful.”

(Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education at the Gates Foundation)

This is good news for teachers who have suspected this all along, but have felt the pressure to focus on the “test” and test preparation. With MasteryConnect, teachers can do more than just “work their way methodically through the key concepts of literacy and mathematics”…teachers can easily view those concepts daily, monitor student performance relative to those concepts, report student mastery, collaborate with peers all over the country and find great teacher created common assessments.