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What Do We Know About How Teachers Influence Student Performance on Standardized Tests: And Why Do We Know so Little About Other Student Outcomes?


by Thomas L. Good — 2014

Background/Context: Since the 1970s, researchers have attempted to link observational measures of instructional process to student achievement (and occasionally to other outcomes of schooling). This paper reviews extensively both historical and contemporary research to identify what is known about effective teaching.

Purpose/Objective: Good, after reviewing what is known about effective teaching, attempts to apply this to current descriptions of effective teaching and its application value for practice. Good notes that much of the “new” research on effective teaching has simply replicated what has been known since the 1980s. Although this is not unimportant (since it shows that older findings still pertain to contemporary classrooms), it is unfortunate that research has not moved beyond the relationship between general teacher behavior (those that cut across subject areas) and student achievement (as measured by standardized tests). How this information can be applied and the difficulty in using this information is examined in the paper.

Research Design: The paper is a historical analysis and reviews research on teaching from the 1960s to today.

Conclusion: Conclusion: This paper has stressed that our data base on effective teaching is limited—still it has some implications for practice. Even though the knowledge base is limited, there is no clear knowledge that teachers-in-training learn and have the opportunity to practice and use. It would seem that teacher education programs would want to assure that their graduates, in addition to possessing appropriate knowledge, would also have clear conceptual understanding and skills related to active teaching, proactive management, communication of appropriate expectations for learning, and the ability to plan and enact instruction that balances procedural and conceptual knowledge. Future research on the use of this knowledge base and its effects in teacher education programs would be informative. If done correctly, research on teaching can improve instruction. However, the research must be applied carefully if it is to have useful effects. And, as noted often in this paper, research must consider outcomes of schooling other than achievement such as creativity, adaptability, and problem finding.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 1, 2014, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17289, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 11:46:50 PM

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About the Author
  • Thomas Good
    University of Arizona
    THOMAS L. GOOD is a Professor and Department Head in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Arizona. His undergraduate work was at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. His Master and PhD work were done at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. His previous teaching included appointments at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas (Department of Educational Psychology) and the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri (Department of Curriculum and Instruction). He is a member of the National Academy of Education and is a Fellow in both the American Psychology Association and the American Educational Research Association. His interests include instructional behavior, teacher expectations, youth policy, and educational policy. His work has been supported by numerous foundations, his research has appeared in numerous publications (in journals for both researchers and practitioners), and his books have been translated into several languages (including Japanese, Spanish, German, and Chinese). Among his books are several editions of Looking in Classrooms (coauthored with Jere Brophy) and he is presently writing a book with Alyson Lavigne examining the intended and unintended effects of high-stakes evaluation.
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