Surprising: teaching assistants – and smaller class sizes – make a positive difference on minority student outcomes

From experience to meaning...

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and the first study they mention surprises me. I’ll first share the insights, and than say why it surprises me:

A working paper from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research finds evidence that teaching assistants can have positive effects on student outcomes.

Charles T. Clotfelter and colleagues examined the role of teaching assistants and other non-teaching staff in elementary schools in North Carolina to identify causal effects on students’ test scores in math and reading.

Positive effects were identified on test scores in reading, but for math, positive effects were only found for minority students’ test scores. For both reading and math, the effects on minority students’ test scores were larger than the effects on the test scores for white students.

The report also found that more teachers (and therefore smaller class sizes) had a number of…

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