Monday, November 26, 2007

Research on Test Scores:Communication has Strong Influence

This is an interesting study that validates the concerns of teachers, administrators and legislators who participated in the OEA Summit on Staffing High Needs Schools. One of the recommendations dealt with having the time to collaborate with other teachers and administrators for the best success in staffing schools.This research not only supports the concept, but shows that the practice has a direct impact on student test scores.

Teachers will tell you that time is one of the greatest issues facing the profession. Having time to collaborate with your colleagues is an important factor in the success of schools. Too often, a majority of our teachers aren't given the time at school to discuss issues and strategies.

Study: Teacher communication has strong influence on test scores.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (11/26, Roth) reports, "In an award-winning study of the Pittsburgh Public Schools," researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, "found that in the schools where teachers talked to each other the most about their jobs, and where the principals did the best job of staying in touch with the community, students had noticeably higher reading and math test scores." The study, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation national prize for the best research paper published last year, found that "these communication networks had a much bigger impact on test scores than the experience or credentials of the staff did." Though researchers determined that "a student's family background and poverty level will have the biggest single impact on his test scores," they found that the most significant factor that schools could control was interaction between teachers, principals, parents and other members of the school community. According to the study's lead author, "If teachers from the same grades could get together for a half hour to an hour each week just to talk about classroom challenges together, it would probably have more benefit than all the special in-service days wrapped together."

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