Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Studies Finding That If Educators Are Good At Raising Test Scores, They Might Be Missing The Boat With Other Skills

I’ve previously posted about studies that have found that the laser-like focus on raising student test scores often identifies teachers who are good at doing that, but those VAM-like measures tend to short-change educators who are good at developing Social Emotional or “non-cognitive skills” (see More Evidence Showing The Dangers Of Using High-Stakes Testing For Teacher Evaluation ; Another Study Shows Limitations Of Standardized Tests For Teacher Evaluations; Study Finds Teachers Whose Students Achieve High Test Scores Often Don’t Do As Well With SEL Skills and SEL Weekly Update).

And those have been followed-up by further research finding that that ninth-grade teachers who are particularly good in helping student acquire non-cognitive skills are more successful “much larger in magnitude” in having students graduate and attend college than those whose work results in higher test scores alone (see You’ll Want To Read This Interview With Education Researcher Kirabo Jackson).

Two additional studies now reinforce the findings that focusing on test scores could result in teachers missing the boat on other critical factors.

Teacher Effects on Complex Cognitive Skills and Social-Emotional Competencies is the title of one by Matthew A. Kraft. Here’s an excerpt:


One additional practical benefit from his paper is that he reproduces in the appendix copies of simple surveys that have been used to measure perseverance and a growth mindset. No, they shouldn’t be used for high-stakes assessment (you can find lots of articles at The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources about why that’s a bad idea). However, I think they could be very useful for those of us in the classroom who want to use it in the spirit of being data-informed and not data-driven (The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”) as formative assessments.

Chalkbeat covers more research at When teachers are better at raising test scores, their students are less happy, study finds.

And before some begin to wonder if “happiness” is a loosey-goosey term that means teachers just have to show movies and give out candy, the researcher instead finds that a pre-requisite for student happiness is creating an “emotionally supportive classroom environment.”

I think everyone would agree that this kind of atmosphere is a critical one for learning to flourish.

So, perhaps evaluating teacher effectiveness is far-more complicated than many think. Who would have thought?

October 26, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Wisdom From Nobel-Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman On Creating Change

If you are interested in encouraging change in student behavior, or in creating social change in our society, you could do far worse than listening to the advice of Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman as he’s quoted in How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution (I do, however, have questions about the organization that Freakonomics show is talking about):

I’m adding this to:

The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change

Best Posts On “Motivating” Students

Here are some other posts I’ve written about Kahneman’s work:

Mini-Lesson On “Cognitive Ease”

The Value Of Student “Ownership”

The Importance Of Good Endings

October 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study That Teenagers Are Sleeping Less & Less

It’s no surprise to teachers or to parents that many teenagers are not getting enough sleep (see The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep).

According to a new study, however, it’s getting even worse.

Here’s an excerpt from Science Daily’s article, More teens than ever aren’t getting enough sleep:

You can see in that “Best” list links to lessons I’ve done in class to help students become more aware of the issue…

October 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

New Metacognition Study & How I’m Thinking Of Applying It In My Classes – Feedback Welcome!

I write about – and try to encourage my students to use – metacognition (see Best Posts On Metacognition).

A study has just been announced that has a new (at least, to me) “take” on it that I’m considering adapting to my own classroom.

You can read a summary of the research at Metacognition training boosts gen chem exam scores.

The researchers used a college chemistry class to try out some metacognitive techniques. It has some intriguing twists on it different from other related studies I’ve seen, particularly its use of the Dunning-Kruger Effect (see Useful New TED Video & Lesson On The Dunning-Kruger Effect and here) which, as the article states:

people who perform poorly at a task tend to overestimate their performance ability, while those who excel at the task may slightly underestimate their competence.

The researchers had their students take three practice tests each week.  In the experimental group, students had to predict how they would do and, then, after seeing their results, the would receive recommendations for a specific study plan to use so they could improve the next time.

Here were their results:

By the final exam, students’ predictions of their scores were about right on, or a little underpredicted. Overall, the researchers report, students who learned metacognition skills scored around 4 percent higher on the final exam than their peers in the control section. But the strongest improvement was in the bottom quartile of students, who scored a full 10 percent better, on average, than the bottom quartile of the control section.

So, that’s a quick summary of the study.

One thing is for sure – I’m not going to have students start taking three tests each week and design an online system to give specific feedback on a study plan!

However, the idea of using the Dunning-Kruger Effect to students predict their grade and provide specific feedback does seem interesting.

I always have my students use a self-assessment sheet right before grades are due and most, thought not all, of students’ conclusions line-up with mine.  You can see the ones I use (for my mainstream and ELL classes) at Student Self-Assessments For Mr. Ferlazzo’s Students.

Based on this new study, I’m thinking of giving these assessments to students at the beginning of each grade period and having them predict how they’ll do in each area.  Then, in the middle of the grading period, taking them out again and having a very brief individual meeting with each student where I give them a chance to review it again. Then, both they and I share if his/her work so far corresponds with the prediction.

Obviously, it’s not a three-times-week activity like those in the study, but it does seem to apply the concepts behind the research.

I don’t really see any negative to trying it out.  I realize I probably should not do it in at least one class so there is some kind of control group, but I don’t feel like I can ethically do that since I think it will probably be a beneficial intervention.

What are your thoughts?

October 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About Retrieval Practice


The teaching/learning/studying strategy called “retrieval practice” has been gaining a lot of attention recently as more and more studies have found that is very effective.

A simple definition of the idea is challenging students to remember something they have already learned – but not necessarily immediately after they learned it.

Many of us teachers use it already in different ways. For example, I’ll often ask students to take a moment and think about a fact or strategy we’ve discussed (for example, “What is a thesis statement?”) and then have them share with a partner.

One purpose for this list to push myself to be more conscious of this instructional strategy and look for more ways to easily implement it in my classroom:

Here’s the best practical piece for teachers that I’ve found on the topic: Retrieval Practice: The Most Powerful Learning Strategy You’re Not Using is from Jennifer Gonzalez.


How is a Student’s Memory at Test Time? is by Eric Jensen, and offers some particularly good advice about retrieval practice in the classroom.

Promoting Metacognition with Retrieval Practice in Five Steps is from The Effortful Educator.

Check out

Learn how to Study Using… Retrieval Practice is from The Learning Scientists.


Let me know what I’m missing!

October 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2017 – Part Two

Time for another end-of-year “Best” list.

I’m adding this post to All 2017 “Best” Lists – In One Place!

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2017 – So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2016 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2016 – So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2015 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2015 – So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2012 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2011

Here are my choices for My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2017 – Part Two:

I Knew Encouraging Oral Reading Fluency Was Important, But I Didn’t Realize It Was This Important….

Study Questions Whether Standardized Tests Assess Learning Or Engagement

New Study Finds Advantages To Reading Print On Paper Over Reading On A Screen

Harvard Business Review Publishes Yet Another Excellent Guide To Classroom Management

New Study Contradicts Past Ones – Music Does Not Appear To Hurt Studying

Research in 100 words are great summaries of…research from CHRIS MOYSE.

Useful Recommendations For Reducing Drop-Out Rates

New Study Suggests That Motivation & Growth Mindset Are Most Important Factors For Student Success

Study: Teachers Have Fewer Good Relationships With “immigrants and adolescents of color”

Study: Ninth-Grade ‘Grades’ Predict Graduation & College Attendance

Another Study Finds That Learning By Doing Works….

Study Finds Adding More Periods Of Instruction That Didn’t Work In First Place Doesn’t Help High School Readers

Yet Another Study Documents The Long-Term Harm Of Short-Term Extrinsic Motivation

New Studies Find Calling Children “Smart” Makes Them More Likely To Cheat

Statistic Of The Day: Yes, We Teachers Buy A Lot Of Food For Our Students To Eat

New Study Finds VAM Is Biased Against Teachers Of “At Risk” Students

Good Advice On Talking About Our Colleagues & Our Students

Extrinsic Motivation Strikes Out Again

New Study Finds That People Like You More If You Ask Questions

The Best Resources On Developing A Sense Of Community In The Classroom

Bingo! There Are Issues With This Study On Grit & ELLs, But I Am Sure Going To Use It With My Students

Focusing On The Impact Classroom Disruptions Have On Others, Not On The Students Doing The Disrupting

Study Finds That Social Emotional Learning Has Long-Lasting Effects

New Study Finds Students Less Motivated In School The More They Think Wealth & Income Inequality Is Stacked Against Them

New Study Finds That Punishment May Encourage The Behavior Being Targeted

Change “Employees” To “Students” & This Article Has Good Research & Advice On Building Trust

Study’s Conclusion Is Not As Useless As It Sounds: Low-Income Adolescents Are Less Likely To Attend College

New Study On Cellphones Helpful To Teachers Everywhere

Using The “Curiosity Gap” To Enhance Student Motivation

Good Reminder About How To Give Constructive Feedback

Study Suggests That Simple Writing Exercise Gets Big Results

This Is Interesting: Hattie Says Jigsaw Strategy Hits a Homerun

Intriguing Research On How To Increase Intrinsic Motivation

NY Times Publishes Best Summary Of Why Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough….

New National Academies Of Science Report Identifies Three Qualities Key To Student Success

Useful New Study On Resilience & “At Risk Students”

Two Important Reports On Education Released Today

No Surprise: Study Finds Immigrant Students Have Trouble Concentrating When Laws Are Passed Attacking Them

The Best Resources For Learning About Cognitive Bias



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