Great English teachers improve students’ Math scores – Stanford Researchers

According to research by Stanford and Univ. of Virginia researchers having great English teachers results in significant long-term improvements in the Maths scores of students, for reasons that are not very clear yet.

This finding is the result of a long-term, large study:

The researchers, Benjamin Master, Susanna Loeb and James Wyckoff, looked at 700,000 students in New York City in third through eighth grade over the course of eight school years (from 2003-04 to 2011-12).

and this is the finding:

The researchers found that the students of good English language arts teachers had higher than expected math scores in subsequent years. And this long-term boost to math performance was nearly as large (three quarters) as the long-term benefits within the subject of English. Conversely, good math teachers had only minimal long-term effects on English performance. Their positive effects were more subject specific.

The main take-away message is that we shouldn’t simply focus on Maths and Science – language is important:

“Our findings reinforce the value of investments in student learning in ELA (English language arts), even if the immediate effects of teachers or other instructional interventions may appear modest in comparison to effects on short-term math achievement,” the authors wrote. The authors added  that their motivation for this study was a concern that many school districts are too narrowly focusing on rating teachers based on short-term test gains and they wanted to try to understand what kinds of teaching produce long-term learning benefits.

Why English teaching matters so much in other subjects is unclear.

Read the full article or the original paper.

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