Study Says Most 1st Grade Classes Not High Quality
A study of 820 1st grade classrooms suggests that many are not as warm, friendly, and academically stimulating as some experts think they ought to be.
According to the research, published this month in the Elementary School Journal, only 23 percent of classrooms could be judged to be of “high quality” in both their instructional practices and social and emotional climate.
Another 31 percent of classrooms—the largest percentage in the study sample—were deemed to have a positive emotional climate, but a low level of academic quality. Researchers judged 28 percent of the classrooms to be “mediocre”; the remaining 17 percent got a rating of “low overall quality.”
“In some sense, the glass is half empty and half full,” said Robert C. Pianta, a study co-author and the dean of the University of Virginia’s education school, in Charlottesville. His co-author is Megan W. Stulman, a senior research scientist at the school’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.
“To find that 23 percent of classrooms are really top-notch is a good thing,” Mr. Pianta continued. “But it was surprising to see so many classrooms at the lower end, particularly since, on average, emotional quality in 1st grade classrooms is quite high.”
The findings are the latest to emerge from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a 17-year-long research effort financed by the federal National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, or NICHD. ("Study Casts Doubt on Value of ‘Highly Qualified’ Status," April 4, 2007.)
To measure quality, trained raters spent a day in each of the 820 classrooms collecting detailed observations on the goings-on there. The classrooms were scattered across 32 states in 700 regular public, charter, and private schools.
Teachers who ignored pupils’ questions, for example, might get low ratings on the system’s sensitivity scale. On the instructional side, high ratings went to classrooms in which teachers engaged students in discussions, regularly provided pupils with constructive feedback on their work, and invited children to stretch their thinking, among other characteristics and practices.
Copyright 2009 by Editorial Projects in Education. All rights reserved.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Bullying in Schools
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- First Grade Sight Words List