One of the more common clichés that gets passed around this time of year (Teacher Appreciation Week and the end of the school year) is some version of:

“Teachers are the most important factor in the academic success of students.”

Thankfully, many have qualified this statement as “school-based factor” lately.  This is a critical distinction.  Many studies since the 1960s, including Goldhaber et al. (1997), have shown that outside factors are 3-5 times more impactful on student learning than the quality of the teacher or the curriculum.  A recent study from the UK showed that parental involvement (one of many outside factors) had five times the effect of any school-related variables.

Yet, we spend countless hours debating how to improve the quality of teachers and how to address achievement gaps in the classroom, when the bigger issues reside at home.  Perhaps we should be debating whether to publish parent value-added data in local newspapers.

What do you think affects student achievement the most?


photo credit: Kalexanderson via photo pin cc

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