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Teaching practices and cognitive skills

Bietenbeck, Jan LU (2014) In Labour Economics 30. p.143-153
Abstract

National Teaching Standards by various educational organizations in the United States call for a decrease in the use of traditional teaching practices (such as learning by rote) and an increase in the use of modern teaching practices (such as working in small groups) in schools. Yet a small literature in economics has consistently found that traditional teaching raises test scores, while the effect of modern teaching appears to be small and sometimes even negative. This paper uses data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to show that traditional and modern teaching practices promote different cognitive skills in students. In particular, traditional teaching practices increase students' factual... (More)

National Teaching Standards by various educational organizations in the United States call for a decrease in the use of traditional teaching practices (such as learning by rote) and an increase in the use of modern teaching practices (such as working in small groups) in schools. Yet a small literature in economics has consistently found that traditional teaching raises test scores, while the effect of modern teaching appears to be small and sometimes even negative. This paper uses data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to show that traditional and modern teaching practices promote different cognitive skills in students. In particular, traditional teaching practices increase students' factual knowledge and their competency in solving routine problems, but have no significant effect on their reasoning skills. The effects of modern teaching practices are exactly the opposite, with modern teaching fostering reasoning skills. I provide evidence that standardized tests do not measure reasoning skills well, which explains the finding of only small or negative effects of modern teaching on test scores in the literature. I discuss the implications of these results for the recommendations made by National Teaching Standards.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
cognitive skills, standardized tests, teaching practices, TIMSS, I21
in
Labour Economics
volume
30
pages
11 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84910093950
ISSN
0927-5371
DOI
10.1016/j.labeco.2014.03.002
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
f5123095-b6be-4e64-b160-12c3201fc284
date added to LUP
2017-01-19 11:11:54
date last changed
2017-10-22 05:25:10
@article{f5123095-b6be-4e64-b160-12c3201fc284,
  abstract     = {<p>National Teaching Standards by various educational organizations in the United States call for a decrease in the use of traditional teaching practices (such as learning by rote) and an increase in the use of modern teaching practices (such as working in small groups) in schools. Yet a small literature in economics has consistently found that traditional teaching raises test scores, while the effect of modern teaching appears to be small and sometimes even negative. This paper uses data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to show that traditional and modern teaching practices promote different cognitive skills in students. In particular, traditional teaching practices increase students' factual knowledge and their competency in solving routine problems, but have no significant effect on their reasoning skills. The effects of modern teaching practices are exactly the opposite, with modern teaching fostering reasoning skills. I provide evidence that standardized tests do not measure reasoning skills well, which explains the finding of only small or negative effects of modern teaching on test scores in the literature. I discuss the implications of these results for the recommendations made by National Teaching Standards.</p>},
  author       = {Bietenbeck, Jan},
  issn         = {0927-5371},
  keyword      = {cognitive skills,standardized tests,teaching practices,TIMSS,I21},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {143--153},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Labour Economics},
  title        = {Teaching practices and cognitive skills},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2014.03.002},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2014},
}