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Report: The Mismeasure of Teaching Time

Report: The Mismeasure of Teaching Time

Being a teacher can be hard work, but a new report finds that teachers don't work quite as many hours as we are led to believe.

The report, conducted by Samuel Abrams, a researcher at Columbia University's Teachers College, "starts by debunking long-standing research claiming that American educators spend way more time teaching lessons than their international peers," according to an article on Slate.com.

"Specifically, it asserts that numbers in a report released annually by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have been inaccurate for more than a decade," the article said. "Year after year, the organization has found that American high school teachers spend about 73 percent more time on classroom instruction than colleagues in countries such as Finland and Israel. In fact, Abrams concludes, they spend only a modest amount of extra time teaching."

According to the official report, Abrams wrote teachers in U.S. public schools, "work hard, for relatively low pay, and under increasingly stressful conditions because of federally mandated high-stakes tests tying assessment of teachers to student performance on these tests."

"But they do not, as reported in detailed tables published by the OECD every year since 2000, spend so much more time instructing students than teachers in other OECD nations," Abrams wrote. "Through regular repetition by academics and journalists, this misinformation has become conventional wisdom. In reality, U.S. primary teachers spend about 12 percent more time leading classes than their OECD counterparts, not 50 percent; U.S. lower-secondary teachers spend about 14 percent more time, not 65 percent; and U.S. upper-secondary teachers spend about 11 percent more time, not 73 percent. In the case of Finland and Japan, in particular, the alleged differences, as will be explained, reach 110 percent."

Read the full report. Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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