3x for all: Extending the Reach of Education’s Best


Teacher effectiveness has the largest impact of school effects on student learning, and research indicates that top-quintile teachers produce learning gains three times (3X) that of bottom-quintile teachers. However, the supply of these “3X” teachers is limited. Meanwhile, 3X teachers affect only a small portion of children each year, no more than bottom-quintile teachers. Instead of just trying to recruit more great teachers, what if schools chose to reach more children with the great teachers they already have?

Reach extension can take several forms, such as redesigning jobs to concentrate 3X teacher time on instruction, putting star teachers in charge of more children’s learning, and using technology to extend 3X teacher reach and meet their standard. Potential reach-extension methods vary according to the level of “touch,” or direct student interaction with 3X teachers, and “reach,” or number of children served by each 3X instructor.

By eliminating rote and non-instructional duties from 3X teachers’ schedules, many methods would increase touch and reach simultaneously, especially benefiting students who, because of age or learning needs, learn best with high levels of teacher interaction. Even high-touch, low-reach methods of reach extension could significantly increase the number of children learning from top-quintile teachers. Star teachers whose reach is extended would have unprecedented opportunities for achievement and could be paid more from existing per-pupil funding streams. Prepared with the support of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, this working paper aims to launch further thinking and action to achieve 3X for All.

Written by Emily Ayscue Hassel, Bryan C. Hassel

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