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Old 01-20-2011, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Austin
4,087 posts, read 5,367,008 times
Reputation: 6605

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I don't know. Most of the teachers I see now are beyond stressed with the number they have now. I don't see how increasing the number would be a good thing.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:29 PM
cwh
 
345 posts, read 797,467 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinnamon_toast View Post
cwh, there have been studies done (and I would link you if I had the time) that show that class size is the number one biggest factor in academic success and quality of education. While I would not want my child to ever have a below average teacher, I would still prefer a good teacher with 22 kids over an excellent teacher with 30. Especially if we are talking the younger grades like K-3 where individualized attention is so important.
Yes there are studies that show that, however reducing class size is one of the most expensive ways to increase performance. And realistically, we have had several decades of reduction in class sizes and we have little to show for it in
classroom performance. That is reality.


Class-size reduction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:

A multivariable study[21] commissioned by the Los Angeles Times looked at over 750,000 student-years worth of data from the L. A. Unified School District. The study reported that class size was unrelated to the teacher's effectiveness. Average class size in the study was 28 students.

The study looked at "value added", and therefore took into account the student's past performance. The dominant cause of value added to a student's performance was the teacher, although teachers showed a wide variation in how much value they added (or even subtracted). "For example, a typical student moves from the 50th ELA percentile with an average teacher to the 58th percentile for a teacher one standard deviation above the average. The gap in math is larger, where the student moves from the 50th math percentile with the average teacher to the 61st percentile for a teacher one standard deviation above the average."

Teachers with less than 3 years experience showed a small negative effect in their value added. Teachers with degrees beyond a Bachelor's or with "full teaching credentials" show no statistically significant difference in value added over teachers without these qualifications. Similarly, class size (for the ranges encountered) showed no statistically significant change in the value added to the students.
Another good read on the subject.

http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/Wall.../wallis_10.pdf
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:58 AM
 
3,666 posts, read 5,224,037 times
Reputation: 1772
The first study you listed only tested for English Language Arts and math, for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders only, and finally only compared between classes of 19 students in 3rd grade and 28 students in the 4th and 5th grades.

This study also found that, "Teacher effectiveness varies little with education level in any grade. Teachers with full credentials are not more effective in any grade than are other teachers."

Does that mean districts should just hire teachers with the weakest credentials now?

The study concludes that, "More experienced or better educated teachers are no more effective in the classroom than inexperienced teachers with only undergraduate diplomas."

This almost makes it sound as if it would be acceptable to hire and retain teachers with the least experience while dismissing those with more experience only for the fact that it would save money since no teacher would ever be qualified for retirement pensions.

Also the study is only considering teacher effectiveness in terms of "value-added measures". It includes the disclaimer that, "value-added approaches are not intended to replace measures of student proficiency as indications of academic success..."

So if this approach does not measure actual student proficiency then what does it measure?

It does not measure, "absolute test score levels across schools", but does measure, "improvements in student achievement with value-added models."

So what exactly is a value-added model?

It is simply improvement. That is if a school and its students are already doing well, at the top of their game, they will have minimal value-added improvement. On the other hand if a school and it's students are drastically failing but shows some improvement then it will score higher in a value-added analysis.

This is the "teacher effectiveness" being discussed when this study claims that, "class size was unrelated to the teacher's effectiveness."

Quote:
The results show that most student background factors are unrelated to teacher effectiveness, e.g., students from wealthier families or with better educated parents do not increase teacher value added in either reading or math. These students perform better on achievement tests, but the value added model adjusts for these factors. As a result, most family characteristics do not influence the improvements in test scores that are captured by value added.
http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat...8/55538493.pdf

The best schools overall have certain things in common and this study states them clearly as, "student achievement is strongly influenced by student background and preparation. As a result, the "high-performing" schools are inevitably schools with few disadvantaged or low-income students." Teacher effectiveness as measured with the metrics of value-added models have nothing whatsoever to do with what makes a school high-performing.

In other words the best way to improve schools is to improve their communities. In the end though class size reduction might not make a difference after all as the second link in cwh's post shows.

Last edited by Merovee; 01-21-2011 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:42 AM
 
6,288 posts, read 8,344,239 times
Reputation: 4336
I found this article interesting. The author of this piece suggests that the recession had very little to do with Texas' budget shortfall. When Perry decided to lower property taxes by implementing new business taxes in 2006, the comptroller's office warned him that it could cause a $23 billion deficit over 5 years. The article even suggests that this might have been done on purpose as an excuse to make cuts in government spending.

A budget cycle in Texas is two years.

Quote:
The 2006 tax swap has resulted in a shortfall of at least $20.9 billion the past two budget cycles, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning Austin think tank.

The structural deficit accounts for a large piece of Texas' current $27 billion shortfall.
A Self-Inflicted Mess - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:40 PM
cwh
 
345 posts, read 797,467 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merovee View Post
The first study you listed only tested for English Language Arts and math, for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders only, and finally only compared between classes of 19 students in 3rd grade and 28 students in the 4th and 5th grades.

This study also found that, "Teacher effectiveness varies little with education level in any grade. Teachers with full credentials are not more effective in any grade than are other teachers."

Does that mean districts should just hire teachers with the weakest credentials now?





The study concludes that, "More experienced or better educated teachers are no more effective in the classroom than inexperienced teachers with only undergraduate diplomas."

This almost makes it sound as if it would be acceptable to hire and retain teachers with the least experience while dismissing those with more experience only for the fact that it would save money since no teacher would ever be qualified for retirement pensions.
That is not what it really means. From the study, it shows that after 3 years on job, new teachers are as effective as more veteran teachers. It should be no surprise that new teachers get better at their job after a few years. I an surprised they reach that level in 3 years.

It also means that adding a masters degree or other credentials to teach k-12 adds little or nothing to their classroom abilities. Call it the law of diminishing returns and the result should not surprise anyone.

Quote:
Also the study is only considering teacher effectiveness in terms of "value-added measures". It includes the disclaimer that, "value-added approaches are not intended to replace measures of student proficiency as indications of academic success..."

So if this approach does not measure actual student proficiency then what does it measure?

It does not measure, "absolute test score levels across schools", but does measure, "improvements in student achievement with value-added models."

So what exactly is a value-added model?

It is simply improvement. That is if a school and its students are already doing well, at the top of their game, they will have minimal value-added improvement. On the other hand if a school and it's students are drastically failing but shows some improvement then it will score higher in a value-added analysis.
It would seem that a students improvement would be a very important metric, no matter where the kid goes to school.

Quote:
This is the "teacher effectiveness" being discussed when this study claims that, "class size was unrelated to the teacher's effectiveness."

http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat...8/55538493.pdf

The best schools overall have certain things in common and this study states them clearly as, "student achievement is strongly influenced by student background and preparation. As a result, the "high-performing" schools are inevitably schools with few disadvantaged or low-income students." Teacher effectiveness as measured with the metrics of value-added models have nothing whatsoever to do with what makes a school high-performing.
That is correct, but guess what? Good schools still have under performing teachers. Value added metrics work as well for good and bad schools.
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:32 AM
 
236 posts, read 301,913 times
Reputation: 194
Perry has actually been quoted as saying that there are no shortfalls-- that the state has priorities, and those will be funded (read: not education). Couple that with the legislature being comprised of a significant number of outback hicks with poor educations, and of course education is not going to be supported.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: SA/Pipe Creek
2,791 posts, read 4,628,734 times
Reputation: 1588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merovee View Post
In other words the best way to improve schools is to improve their communities. In the end though class size reduction might not make a difference after all as the second link in cwh's post shows.
And that was the best summation I have ever heard. Dude, if you're writing dissertation at 3 in the morning... you should apply it to your education (not here). You lose people by the 3rd paragraph.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:10 PM
 
Location: SA/Pipe Creek
2,791 posts, read 4,628,734 times
Reputation: 1588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proffer View Post
Perry has actually been quoted as saying that there are no shortfalls-- that the state has priorities, and those will be funded (read: not education). Couple that with the legislature being comprised of a significant number of outback hicks with poor educations, and of course education is not going to be supported.
Too true. Short, sweet and to the point.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:08 PM
 
6,288 posts, read 8,344,239 times
Reputation: 4336
One side is blogging that there aren't any shortfalls for states willing to cut spending. Since Texas is willing to cut spending, the projected shortfall is not real.

Texas doesn't really have much fat to cut. We're already 44th when it comes to spending on education and we're near the bottom when it comes to spending on human services. We have the worst uninsured rate, one of the highest high school dropout rates, and one of the highest rates of adults over 25 without a diploma. If Texas continues to attract low wage jobs and puts little value in education, we'll continue to lead the nation in the proportion of workers earning the federal minimum wage or less.

PolitiFact Texas | Texas has the highest proportion of workers earning minimum wage or less
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:16 PM
cwh
 
345 posts, read 797,467 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by meisha210 View Post
One side is blogging that there aren't any shortfalls for states willing to cut spending. Since Texas is willing to cut spending, the projected shortfall is not real.

Texas doesn't really have much fat to cut. We're already 44th when it comes to spending on education and we're near the bottom when it comes to spending on human services. We have the worst uninsured rate, one of the highest high school dropout rates, and one of the highest rates of adults over 25 without a diploma. If Texas continues to attract low wage jobs and puts little value in education, we'll continue to lead the nation in the proportion of workers earning the federal minimum wage or less.

PolitiFact Texas | Texas has the highest proportion of workers earning minimum wage or less

And yet, Texas has has weathered this bad recession better than most states. Money spent does not guarantee better results.
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