Recently read somewhere that researchers have found that teachers account for 10-20% of a student’s achievement levels. My first reaction was, Gee that’s not much, people critical of teachers could use this in further judgment of the profession. However, here is something to think about using this statistic. Even taking the low end of improvement, a 10% increase raises a student from say a 65 (failing) to almost 72 and passing. Conversely, a teacher could keep a 78 student from potentially failing. This gets important to high school students who have a marginal connection to school. If, at the end of their sophomore year they have failed several courses, they will not be in line to graduate with their class and they face needing to retake failed classes needed for graduation like English, math and history. They also would be taking these classes with younger students—not cool and not likely to provide needed motivation.
At the upper end, the statistics would lead you to think that a student usually scoring 80 could be raised to a student scoring 96’s. I’m not so sure of this. That’s taking a C student and creating an A student. While George Bush and his NCLB supporters might like that kind of calculating, the reality is that a C student in say English might be brought up to a B but not consistently in to the A range.