Poor students miss out on teaching strategies

STUDENTS from poorer families are less likely to receive several sound teaching methods that have been shown to significantly improve reading literacy performance, according to a new NSW study.

Those students from the wealthiest quarter of the community are nearly 20 percentage points more likely to be asked to explain the meaning of a text. They are also 16 percentage points more likely to be asked questions that challenge them to get a better understanding of the text.

Students from poorer backgrounds are also missing out on being given the chance to ask questions about reading assignments and having a teacher who tells them in advance how their work is going to be judged.

Collectively, these four teaching strategies have been shown to have a significant effect on student performance in the most comprehensive international testing program, the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA).

The results of students who reported that the four strategies were used ''in most or all lessons'' were a year's schooling ahead of students who said they were used ''hardly ever or in some cases''.

The assessment result is contained in a study by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, which has been established within the NSW Education Department.

The Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said the data showed some ''core, basic practices'' can make a real difference in student results.

"We already know that the quality of education we offer is only as good as the teaching in our schools. This report shows us some of the small things teachers do that make a big difference to student outcomes."

The new centre will be guided by an impressive advisory council whose members include Dr Andreas Schleicher, the special adviser on education policy to the secretary-general of the OECD, and leading figures from the RAND Corporation and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It will be chaired by Dr John Ainley, a former executive with the Australian Council for Educational Research.

The story Poor students miss out on teaching strategies first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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