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Teaching practices and cognitive skills

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  • Bietenbeck, Jan

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bietenbeck, Jan, 2014. "Teaching practices and cognitive skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 143-153.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:30:y:2014:i:c:p:143-153
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2014.03.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.
    2. Hidalgo-Cabrillana, Ana & Lopez-Mayan, Cristina, 2018. "Teaching styles and achievement: Student and teacher perspectives," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 184-206.
    3. Sule Alan & Enes Duysak & Elif Kubilay & Ipek Mumcu, 2020. "Social Exclusion and Ethnic Segregation in Schools: The Role of Teacher's Ethnic Prejudice," Working Papers 2020-044, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Chris Ryan, 2017. "Secondary School Teacher Effects on Student Achievement in Australian Schools," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n11, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Juan Francisco Jimeno & Aitor Lacuesta & Marta Martínez-Matute & Ernesto Villanueva, 2016. "Education, labour market experience and cognitive skills: evidence from PIAAC," Working Papers 1635, Banco de España.
    6. Cordero, Jose M. & Gil-Izquierdo, María, 2018. "The effect of teaching strategies on student achievement: An analysis using TALIS-PISA-link," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1313-1331.
    7. José Antonio Molina Marfil & Oscar David Marcenaro Gutierrez & Ana Martín Marcos, 2016. "Procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje y producción educativa: un análisis de la competencia matemática," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 11, in: José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 11, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 32, pages 585-604, Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    8. Cordero, José Manuel & Gil, María & Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco, 2016. "Exploring the effect of financial literacy courses on student achievement: a cross-country approach using PISA 2012 data," MPRA Paper 75474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Simon Briole, 2019. "From Teacher Quality to Teaching Quality: Instructional Productivity and Teaching Practices in the US," PSE Working Papers halshs-01993616, HAL.
    10. Daniel Santín & Gabriela Sicilia, 2018. "Using DEA for measuring teachers’ performance and the impact on students’ outcomes: evidence for Spain," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 1-15, February.
    11. Tanaka, Ryuichi & Ishizaki, Kazumi, 2018. "Do teaching practices matter for students’ academic achievement? A case of linguistic activity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 26-36.
    12. Sarah Flèche, 2017. "Teacher Quality, Test Scores and Non-Cognitive Skills: Evidence from Primary School Teachers in the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp1472, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    13. José M. Cordero & Víctor Cristóbal & Daniel Santín, 2018. "Causal Inference On Education Policies: A Survey Of Empirical Studies Using Pisa, Timss And Pirls," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 878-915, July.
    14. Vaclav Korbel & Michal Paulus, 2017. "Do Teaching Practices Impact Socio-emotional Skills?," Working Papers IES 2017/04, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Feb 2017.
    15. Kubota, Kohei & Ito, Takahiro & Ohtake, Fumio, 2019. "Long-term consequences of group work in Japanese public elementary schools," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    16. Martínez Matute, Marta & Villanueva, Ernesto, 2020. "Task Specialization and Cognitive Skills: Evidence from PIAAC and IALS," IZA Discussion Papers 13555, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Gunnes, Trude & Donze, Jocelyn, 2016. "Teaching Practices and the Management of Student Motivation, Effort and Achievement," MPRA Paper 69954, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Teaching practices; Cognitive skills; Standardized tests; TIMSS;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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