Showing posts from March, 2013

How much do teachers cost?

by Eric Charbonnier and Etienne Albiser
Analysts, Directorate for Education and Skills

Can increasing the salaries of teachers lead to better learning outcomes? Does reducing class size have a positive effect on learning outcomes? Given the current background of tight public budgets, governments seeking to ensure value for money must ask themselves these questions before increasing the salary cost of teacher per student, as teachers account for a major part of education expenditure.

The latest edition of Education Indicators in Focus highlights that the salary cost of teacher per student is a combination of four factors: teachers’ salary, class size, the number of teaching hours in front of a classroom and the number of hours of instruction received by students.

Countries that have similar levels of expenditure on education do not necessarily have similar educational policies and practices. A given level of expenditure may result from a different combination of these factors. One count…

Grade expectations

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills
They’re a source of both anxiety and pride, but school marks can also have long-term consequences for students. Most teachers reward student achievement, but also the skills, attitudes, habits and behaviours that are necessary for lifelong learning. However, as this month’s PISA in Focus  points out, the tendency of teachers to award higher marks to girls and socio-economically advantaged students than to boys and disadvantaged students – even if they perform equally well in school and have similar positive attitudes towards learning – is cause for some concern.

Marks help to promote student learning by informing students about their progress, alerting teachers about their students’ needs, and certifying the degree to which students have mastered the tasks and competencies valued by teachers and schools. Schools and teachers recognise this: more than 95% of students in the countries and economies that participated in PISA …

Who says she’s a great teacher?

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director for Education and Skills, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General
Most of us have been lucky enough to have had at least one great teacher in our lifetime: a teacher who inspired us to work hard and take risks, who opened up new worlds for us; a teacher whom we remember years, even decades, after the brief intersection of our two lives as someone who changed the course of our life or deepened the meaning of it.

What makes a teacher great? And who gets to decide? Students? Parents? Fellow teachers? Principals?

There are some countries where mentioning the phrase “teacher evaluation” around educators, teachers’ union leaders and policy makers provokes a rise in the ambient temperature. Teachers in the United States and France have gone on strike over the issue and Britain’s teachers’ unions and those that represent head teachers found themselves on opposite sides of a recent debate about whether to base teachers’ pay o…

A Women’s Day Challenge

byBarbara Ischinger
Director for Education and Skills
On a recent visit to New Zealand, I attended a memorial service for the 185 people who lost their lives when the earthquake of 22 February 2011 struck Christchurch. What I took away from that gathering was less the still-fresh grief but rather the sense of purpose that followed the tragedy. Kay Giles, chief executive of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), for example, who was already devoted to assisting young people – most of them boys – who had dropped out of the education system, put her passion and expertise to work by calling on people involved in apprenticeship programmes to help those who had lost their livelihoods to the earthquake. Stakeholders from local businesses, industry and education worked together quickly to develop long- and short-term training modules to put people back to work – sometimes in entirely different careers – as soon as possible.

I met, too, with New Zealand’s Education Minister, H…

A class act: giving teachers feedback

by Kristen Weatherby
Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)
When I think back on my first experiences as a student teacher of English language and literature to 13- and 14-year-olds, I don’t really remember the successes; I am not sure there were many during my teaching practice. Rather, I am reminded of the more colourful episodes of classroom management and student behaviour that seemed to occur all too frequently. For example, there was the time I looked up from reading to the class to see one student staring back with a green mustache and eyebrows. Another time one student jumped up from his desk and threw another student’s books out the window before I could blink. And then there were the countless times that I had to take away combs, brushes and makeup from both girls and boys in an effort to turn my classroom from a beauty salon into a place of learning. Needless to say, in these moments I didn’t feel like a very effective teacher.

Little did I know i…