Having consistently good teachers in elementary school appears to be as important for student achievement as small class sizes, according to new research by a Michigan State University education scholar.
The study by Spyros Konstantopoulos found that, starting in kindergarten, teachers can significantly affect students’ reading and math scores in later grades. The study, which appears in the research journal Teachers College Record, is one of the first scientific experiments to find that teachers can affect student achievement over time in the crucial early grades.
“The findings suggest teacher effects do not fade, but remain strong predictors of student achievement,” said Konstantopoulos, associate professor of measurement and quantitative methods.
The study highlights the importance of identifying and hiring effective teachers in the early grades and implementing interventions such as professional development to improve teacher effectiveness, Konstantopoulos said.
“Of course we should have the best teachers we can in all grades,” he said. “But if you have to prioritize resources, perhaps the earlier school years make the most sense because this is where students receive most of the basic skills for reading and math.”
Read more on the study in MSU News.