Kansas Progress Institute

Ad Astra Per Aspera ~ To the Stars Through Difficulties

New Findings in Educational Theory

Posted on April 29, 2016

By David Burress

A new working paper by Roland Fryer*, a top economist at Harvard, looks to be the most important review or summary of educational research ever published (even though focused only on math and reading). It reverses some earlier review conclusions that were based on nonexperimental or quasi-experimental evidence. E.g. class size really does matter, just as teachers have always believed. Reading interventions need to be either as early as possible or else extremely tutor-intensive, while math interventions can work up through middle school. Addressing poverty directly simply doesn’t help.


These findings reinforce an educational theory I have long held: most of education should be accomplished via “each one teach one”: you should not be finally passed on a topic until you can teach it to someone else. The act of teaching both reveals the holes in your understanding and also clenches what you know. Meanwhile “each one teach one” goes a long way towards solving the cost problem in education–the best teaching is tutoring, which is hugely expensive. The job of professional teachers should not consist mainly in tutoring, but rather in tutoring tutoring.

Footnote*: This is behind a paywall but I could send it if you send us an email address.  Also click here for an article on the findings.

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