Challenges and Tradeoffs of “Good” Teaching: The Pursuit of Multiple Educational Outcomes by David Blazar and Cynthia Pollard is a brand new study (not paywalled) that many teachers – no matter what subject or grade level you’re teaching – are likely to find very intriguing.

Using test data, student surveys and other tools, they tried to sort what what instructional strategies might result in high student engagement and “happiness” in class and improved test scores.  As part of their research, they also identified what strategies might lead to low student engagement and improved test scores,  as well as those that would lead to high student engagement but lower test scores.

That research design sounds awfully challenging to me, but it appears that they might have pulled it off.

The text box above highlights the two overall strategies they identified that seemed to correlate to both high student engagement and improved test scores – hands-on activities and proactive routines and classroom organization (for example, our principal makes it a priority for teachers to have “walk-in” procedures, which I assume the study’s authors would include as a “proactive routine”).   The paper seems pretty readable, as far as scholarly papers go, and it’s easy to skim the details there.

They focused on math instruction at the elementary level.  They also point out that those educators also teach all the other subjects, too, so they suggest that their findings could be applicable in those areas, too.

It seems to me that a case could be made that those findings could also work in middle and high schools – hopefully an ambitious researcher will try to do something similar there.

I’m adding this info to The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement.