Many Factors Affect Student Success in School

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To the Editor:

I was surprised to read the statement, “We know that the quality of teaching a student receives is the single most important predictor of student performance,” in the piece “Moving Beyond Test Scores” (Commentary, Jan. 19, 2011). Parent education and occupation and family income, a student’s educational expectations, and non-English-language status are all factors that have correlated highly with educational achievement in the past. The quality of the teacher turns out to be particularly important for socially disadvantaged students, who often attend schools with less experienced and/or qualified teachers.

Countries with better educational outcomes than ours do focus on teacher preparation and working conditions. Teacher effectiveness is important; I would like, however, to see a more nuanced statement when the topic is introduced.

Barbara Francisco
Silver Spring, Md.

Vol. 30, Issue 21, Page 37

Published in Print: February 23, 2011, as Many Factors Affect Student Success in School
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