Student Surveys Predict Outcomes

September 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM 2 comments

Melinda Gates reported to EducationNation yesterday that students can tell who is a good teacher. Gates Foundation research found that students who felt they had a good teacher demonstrated better outcomes than students who perceived they had weaker instruction. More on this, please.

A high correlation between positive student outcomes and positive student perceptions on the ability of their teachers seems like good news.  Now I am anxiously awaiting the next round of related research. In the meantime, I cannot resist the urge to explore some possible reasons for this phenomenon. I wonder if…

  • Children who receive effective instruction recognize it and appreciate it, especially when they take a test and realize they have been prepared well.
  • Classically strong teachers and motivated students are more likely to be matched within the education system. Less responsive students are turfed to marginalized programs staffed by rookies and other less-empowered educators. The latter case does not enhance engagement, performance, or satisfaction with instruction.
  • Kids who like their teachers are more likely to engage in learning.
  • Good teachers attend to the whole child, including discussions with them related to their intellectual and psychosocial development. This enables the children to be more self-aware and to recognize adults who have helped them grow. Alternately, students without such support are more likely to perform at a lower level and assign blame for failure on others, including their teachers. 
  • Children want to learn, and the adults who listen to them and work with them make better teachers.
  • Nothing succeeds like success. Each test is a cumulative evaluation of the system. Those who have done well historically will enter new classes ready to learn and do well; those who have lagged in the past will not assimilate well in the future or perform well on assessments. The best teachers combine the ability to sustain growth in some while breaking failure cycles with others.

Thank you, Ms. Gates. So what did the kids say?


Entry filed under: Student Outcomes, Teacher Effectiveness.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Irvin Scott  |  October 31, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Thank you for sharing. I particularly find bullets one, three, four, and five compelling and true. That’s been my experience in the classroom. Students are with their teachers 180 days, whiel administrators and peers are there far less. Let’s listen to the kids.

  • 2. schoolsretooled  |  October 31, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I agree. The students have much to share. Student surveys were required in my portfolio for initial teacher certification here in Massachusetts in 2002. It is surprising that they have become so controversial since then.


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