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What is the Single Greatest Factor to Student Success?

what is the single greatest factor to student success teacher job interview question

How would you respond if asked this important teacher interview question?

What is the single greatest factor to student success?

Here is a sample answer below to help you prepare for your next education job interview.

There is a host of factors that contribute to students’ academic success, and there are many theories as to what will help increase the academic success of your student. Setting and communicating reasonable and challenging expectations will help to achieve student success.

The issues that can influence school performance include socioeconomic status, parenting, quality and quantity of time spent away from primary caregivers, parental expectation, the degree of physical and mental health, effects of peer relationships, and meeting of nutritional needs.

Probably one of the greatest determining factors in academic success is parental involvement and parental motivation. About 70-90% of students who get A’s or B’s in schools report they are encouraged by parents to do well in school. Parental involvement may help children understand that education is important. Such parents may also help with homework, occasionally volunteer at school, and attend any conferences or meetings with teachers.

In contrast, at least in one study, children who earn Cs or lower report at about 49% that parents do not encourage them. Schools also regularly say that better performance and academic success are more likely when parents are actively involved in their child’s education.

However, if I had to choose only one factor as being the most important, I would have highly trained teachers who are using effective current methods. Over 200 studies (What Matters Most, 1996) have said that the most significant factor in improving student learning is a knowledgeable and skillful teacher. It’s the teacher.

  • Teacher expertise accounts for more difference in student performance—40 percent—than any other factor. Ferguson (2001)
  • Students who have several effective teachers in a row make dramatic achievement gains, while those who have even two ineffective teachers in a row lose significant ground. Sack (1999)
  • Based on research in Texas, the importance of having an effective teacher instead of an average teacher for four or five years in a row could essentially close the gap in math performance between students from low-income and high-income households. Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin. (2001)
  • The difference in teacher effectiveness is the single largest factor affecting the academic growth of populations of students. Sanders (2000)
  • The differences in impact by the most effective teachers, the top one-sixth of teachers, can be.
    Credit: Harry K. Wong HarryKRose@aol.com

The achievement gap facing poor and minority students is due to poverty or family conditions and systematic differences in teacher quality. A student who an ineffective teacher teaches for two years in a row can never recover the learning lost during those years. As a teacher’s effectiveness increases, the first group to benefit from this improvement is the lower-achieving students.

Determining what needs to be taught and implementing it correctly is critical to success in the classroom and providing excellence in teaching.

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