Research

Teachers Face a Gamut of Grades in the Classroom

The grade level a student is in isn't the best measure of how far along his or her education has gone. More than nine in 10 teachers (93 percent) have students in their classrooms who aren't performing at grade level. Eight in 10 teachers have students at least a grade behind; seven in 10 have students two grades behind; a third have students behind by three grade levels. On the opposite end of the learning spectrum, seven in 10 teachers also report that they have students at least a grade level ahead.

Those findings come from a survey of more than 3,500 K-8 teachers contacted by education technology company Front Row Education. Front Row produces individualized math, English language arts and social studies resources. A basic version of the online service is free to teachers; a paid edition gives teachers and school leaders access to dashboards that allow them to monitor student growth over time and view data generated from the questions and articles students access when they're using the program.

The survey also found that the disparity in student performance forces almost all teachers to spend a lot of extra unpaid time at work. Fifteen percent of respondents reported that they spend over 60 hours on the job; 40 percent spend between 50 and 60 hours at work; and 40 percent of teachers spend between 40 and 50 hours working.

Planning takes up three to five hours each week for more than half of respondents. That count is consistent across grades and years of teaching. For example, a veteran of the classroom spends as much time planning as a new teacher.

More results from the informal survey are available on the Front Row blog here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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