Earli SIG 18 edition:3 location:Zurich date:29-31 August 2012
This study investigated the effect of class practices on students’ learning gains in reading-comprehension in the fifth grade. A sample of 4,344 students in 283 classes in 176 schools was studied. Several class practices that have previously been demonstrated to be effective were tested while controlling for student characteristics and socio-economic and ethnic class composition. Differential effects were tested to identify class practices that can contribute to narrowing the achievement gap between high-risk and low-risk students. Most class practices turned out to have a similar effect for both low- and high-risk students. However, discovery learning and well-organised and attractive instruction appeared to be more beneficial for low-risk than for high-risk students.
This study revealed that a high-risk school population does not have a significant impact on learning gains. The high-risk students’ performance at the end of the fifth grade was significantly lower than that of low-risk students. But the gap between high- and low-risk students did not resize during the fifth grade; the cause of the high-risk students’ lower performance seems to lie at an earlier stage in their lives.