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Closing the Achievement Gap With High Quality Instruction Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard.

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Presentation on theme: "Closing the Achievement Gap With High Quality Instruction Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Closing the Achievement Gap With High Quality Instruction Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, & Creator and Director of the Tripod Project for School Improvement Leadership for Excellence and Equity for All Annual Conference DuPage County Regional Office of Education January 15, 2008 The Achievement Gap Initiative At Harvard University Web Addresses: and Contact: Erin Hardy

2 Why We Began Why We Began the Tripod Project Encouragement: MSANs Black and Latino 7 th - 11 th graders identified teacher encouragement much more often that teacher demands, when asked why they worked hard when they worked hard. Understanding: Half of Black and Latino 7 th -11 th graders reported they completely understood half or less of their teachers lessons and half or less of what they read for school. Effort and Skill: No difference in average reported time on homework among Black, White and Latino students, but whites reported higher homework completion rates.

3 Content What should we teach? Does each teacher have deep knowledge of the curriculum? Pedagogy How should we teach? Does each teacher use effective instructional techniques? Relationships Are we a community? Do students and teachers care about, inspire, and motivate each other? Academic Success for all Students Improved student performance depends on strengthening three legs of an instructional tripod:

4 Tripod and Student Achievement Characteristics of Schools Student Engagement Student Achievement Conditions of Classroom Learning

5 These five tasks help us to formulate targets for student engagement Trust & Interest Control & Autonomy Ambitiousness (high goals) Industriousness Mastery & consolidation Feel trusting, safe and welcome Behave cooperatively Embrace mastery goals Work diligently Achieve satisfaction

6 Students experience classrooms where… They believe success is Feasible Lessons are Relevant The experience is Stimulating/Interesting/Enjoyable Teachers provide Support and Press There is Peer Support (or at least an absence of distractions) These Five Classroom Learning Conditions Help Achieve the Engagement Targets

7 Classrooms are situated in schools where there is.. A healthy climate of support and press for all Evidence of distributed leadership Focused and aligned curriculum Effective instruction Assessment for learning These Five Characteristics of Schools Help Achieve the Classroom Learning Conditions

8 Tripod and Student Achievement Characteristics of Schools Conditions of Classroom Learning Student Engagement Student Achievement

9 1.My teacher encourages us to be helpful to other students with their work. 2.My teacher in this class treats the students with respect. 3.My teacher encourages us to share ideas with one another in class. 4.Things I am learning in this class will help me in my life 5.Our class stays busy and doesnt waste time. 15 predictors of achievement gains among low achievers (value added analysis)

10 6.We get helpful comments to help us know what we did wrong on assignments. 7.If you dont understand something, my teacher explains it another way. 8.My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to. 9. My teacher grades me fairly. 10. My teacher makes learning enjoyable.

11 11.My teacher really tries to understand how students feel about things. 12.My teacher has several good ways to explain each topic that we cover 13.The teacher in this class demands that the students work hard. 14.My teacher in this class likes it when we ask questions. 15.My teacher doesnt let people give up when the work gets hard.

12 Teachers Use Multiple Explanations Each vertical bar is percentage agreement in an individual classroom Measured by: If you dont understand something, my teacher explains it another way. My teacher has several good ways to explain each topic that we cover. School A School BSchool C

13 Relevance Measured by: Things I am learning in this class will help me in my life School ASchool B School C

14 Enjoyment Measured by: My teacher makes learning enjoyable. My teacher makes lessons interesting. School ASchool BSchool C

15 Tripod Project Activities Kickoff meetings for Tasks/Stages Surveys of students and teachers Discussions of survey results and implications Teaching-the-Hard-Stuff Cycles Respect Campaigns Curriculum Streamlining Common Formative Assessments Using School Quality Rubric to Assess Status

16 Class-to-Class Instructional Quality Differences and How They Matter

17 Interesting 1. My teacher makes lessons interesting. 2. My teacher makes learning enjoyable. Encouraging (Support and Press) 3. The teacher in this class encourages me to do my best. Relentless (Press) 4. In this class, the teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort. 5. My teacher works hard to make sure we learn a lot. Rigorous (Press) 6. My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize things. Welcomes Questions (Feasibility&Support) 7. My teacher in this class likes it when we ask questions. 8. The teacher in this class welcomes questions if anyone gets confused. Multiple explanations (Feasibility) 9. If you don't understand something, my teacher explains it another way. 10. My teacher has several good ways to explain each topic that we cover. ITEMS IN AN INSTRUCTIONAL QUALITY INDEX

18 Percentages in each tier who agree with the statement: Teacher Quality Index Tiers:1234 Interesting 1. My teacher makes lessons interesting My teacher makes learning enjoyable The teacher in this class encourages me to do my best In this class, the teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort My teacher works hard to make sure we learn a lot

19 Table Continued. TQI Tiers:1234 Rigorous (Press) 6. My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize things My teacher in this class likes it when we ask questions The teacher in this class welcomes questions if anyone gets confused If you don't understand something, my teacher explains it another way My teacher has several good ways to explain each topic that we cover

20 Aspects of Student Engagement Affected by the Quality of Instruction, in ways that sometimes differ by race and gender: Mastery orientation (focus on learning) Help seeking attitudes and behaviors Good vs. Problem behavior Punctuality and Attendance Sense of efficacy Homework completion rates Findings from three-dozen secondary schools across eight states

21 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students BEHAVIOR. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms. The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response from the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

22 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students CLASS ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms. The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response from the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

23 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students SENSE OF EFFICACY. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms. The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response fro the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

24 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students MASTERY ORIENTATION. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms (student fixed effects). The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response from the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

25 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students HOMEWORK COMPLETION. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms (student fixed effects). The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response from the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

26 Varying instruction affects class-to-class differences in the same students WILLINGNESS TO SEEK HELP FROM THE TEACHER. The chart shows race and gender patterns for middle & high school students, based on surveying the same students in multiple classrooms (student fixed effects). The instructional quality index is based on ten measures of classroom conditions and omits the students own response from the classroom composite. (Effect sizes in standard deviations) Note: sample sizes for Hispanics and Asians were too small for separate gender estimates.

27 TOTAL School Id High School Instructional Quality Ratings, by School

28 School Id Middle School Instructional Quality Ratings, by School

29 Hours Per week of Homework for Surveyed Class, School Means for 17 Middle Schools and 19 High Schools (smoothed)

30 Classroom Goal Structures and Academic Persistence: Findings from over 500 of Elementary School Classrooms

31 The mastery promotion index Help, comprises three items: My teacher likes it when I ask questions. My teacher is nice to me when I ask questions. My teacher is happy to help me with my work. (alpha=.79)

32 The promotion of performance-approach: Perfectionism In our class, it is very important to get everything correct. In our class, getting right answers is very important. (alpha=.84)

33 Low Help, Low Perfectionism, Low Help, High Perfectionism High Help, Low Perfectionism High Help, High Perfectionism Four Classroom Goal Climates

34 Slackers (based on teacher perceptions) How may of your students: Seem not to care enough about doing well in this class; Seem to avoid seeking help, even when they need it? Because of EFFORT levels, fail to complete their work on a regular basis? Make excuses for not doing their work, even when it is relatively easy? (alpha=0.83; 415 teachers).

35 Classmate Collegiality. In our class, kids like to help each other learn. In our class, kids help each other if they make a mistake. In our class, kids tell you when they do better than you. In our class, some kids tease you if you make a mistake.

36 Exhibit 1: Percent who agree, Some classmates tease kids who make mistakes. (n=15402 elementary students, fall 2002.)

37 Exhibit 2: The percentage who agree: "Some classmates tease kids who make mistakes," for three classroom racial mixes and five grade levels. (n=15344 elementary students, fall semester 2003.)

38 Exhibit 3: Classmate Collegiality, shown for three racial mixes within four classroom goal environments as reported by students, winter (542 elementary classrooms)

39

40 Classroom Climate 1= Low Help, Low Perfectionism; 2=Low Help, High Perfectionism 3=High Help, Low Perfectionism; 4=High Help, High Perfectionism <25% White or Asian>50% White or Asian Exhibit 6: Percent who agree in the Fall: I will do my best work in this class all year long.

41 Classroom Climate 1= Low Help, Low Perfectionism; 2=Low Help, High Perfectionism 3=High Help, Low Perfectionism; 4=High Help, High Perfectionism <25% White or Asian>50% White or Asian Exhibit 7: Percent who agree in the spring: I have done my best work in school all year long.

42 Classroom Climate 1= Low Help, Low Perfectionism; 2=Low Help, High Perfectionism 3=High Help, Low Perfectionism; 4=High Help, High Perfectionism Exhibit 8: Percent who agree in the fall they will do their best work all year, minus the percent who agree in the spring that they did. (Elementary.) Less than 1/4th the class is white or Asian More than half the class is white or Asian


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