Improving student achievement is one of the main goals of all teachers. Student achievement measures the academic content a student learns over a period of time. Test scores are commonly used to measure student achievement. However, if you want a more holistic perspective, a student’s character, skills, and ability to solve real-world problems should also be taken into consideration.
5 Ways to Improve Student Achievement
Raise the Quality of Instruction
This is a deciding factor in improving student achievement. Teachers influence the quality of instruction by setting expectations for learning and measuring the level of understanding. A teacher should think of ways how to make learning more engaging.
Use real-life experiences, background knowledge, stories, prior learning, or videos to catch students’ interest and support the learning process. If instruction is presented in such a way that is boring, disconnected, or not easy to understand, it may be hard for students to meet the desired level of achievement. It is important to map out your State Standards in such a way that they build on one another and add context for students.
Support Teachers’ Continual Professional Learning
The knowledge of great instruction is only the first step toward increasing student achievement. Although it may appear that the responsibility for improving student achievement rests solely on teachers, this is certainly not the case. School administrators, assistant principals, and other school personnel should also be involved in achieving this goal.
Student achievement is highly dependent on the quality of instruction. That is why developing the knowledge and skills of teachers through professional development is important. Teachers should be familiar with the components of great instruction, while school administrators must provide leadership, feedback, and support needed for teachers to improve their practices.
Using data is an important step in improving student achievement. But, it’s not enough to just read the data. You have to do something with it. Identify strengths and devise strategies how to improve on weaknesses. Focus on “why” students are not achieving and what schools can do to support their learning without excuses.
Knowing the status of each student will guide teachers on how to differentiate instruction. Students don’t learn the same way or at the same rate. Understanding the individual needs and background of students will help a lot to increase learning.
Rigor refers to instruction, school work, or learning experiences that are intellectually stimulating and complex. Rigor allows students to learn more deeply. Many teachers believe that they have rigorous assignments, but in reality, they do not. Teachers often confuse difficulty with complexity.
While rigor is usually associated with difficulty, it’s important to note that lessons should be challenging and stimulating (complex), not difficult. There’s a difference between memorization and strategic reasoning. Increasing rigor both in instruction and assignments is a powerful combination that can improve student achievement.
Promote a Positive School Climate
A positive school climate can help boost academic achievement and outcomes for students. In promoting a positive school climate, schools allow greater equality in educational opportunities. Schools that combine academics with positive school climate tend to perform better over the long term.
When administrators and teachers collaborate to achieve a positive school climate, the whole school community will reap the benefits of an environment that is happier, safer, and more conducive to learning.
There are many factors that can impact student achievement. Teachers and school administrators should leave no stone unturned and explore all possible ways to increase learning, making sure that students reach their full potential.