The Biggest Single Factor in Improving Learning


Volumes and volumes of opinion exist as to what gets results in education. A rapid consultation of newspapers, political statements, even discussions with educational professionals, usually results in this list of preferred reforms (in no particular order):

• new head teachers

• new types of schools

• smaller class sizes

• more homework

• more teaching assistants

• more money for schools

But a recent comprehensive study finds that none of these are the key to success.

That’s right - none.

Attainment is boosted not by changing school leadership, reorganising a school, reducing numbers in classes, handing out more homework, or even by what seem clearly successful actions like increasing the number of teaching assistants or giving schools more money.

Educational standards have remained largely unchanged for decades - despite the extra billions poured into schools, despite the huge increase in teaching assistants, despite more homework and all the rest of it.

So what is the biggest single factor in improving learning?

The quality of teaching in the classroom; the interaction between the teacher and the student.