Better Science Teachers Mean Better Student Performance

| Press release

Schoolchildren achieve better science grades when their teacher has specialist training in the subject they teach. This has been shown in an evaluation of international student data by Pietro Sancassani of the ifo Center for the Economics of Education. Germany was not included in the study because all science teachers there already have specialist training. Around one-fifth of the effect qualified teachers have on student performance can be ascribed to the fact that teachers feel more confident delivering the course material. The remaining causes have yet to be established.

“Girls and disadvantaged schoolchildren in particular benefit from being taught by teachers with specialist training,” Sancassani says. Moreover, the positive effect is especially large in developing countries and in countries with a lower standard of education. “Developing countries and countries that underperform in science should encourage teachers to gain subject-specific qualifications as this would also raise student performance. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular should be taught by these specially trained teachers. This would improve both the equality and effectiveness of education systems worldwide.”

The study evaluated data from the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015.

Questions can be directed to: Pietro Sancassani, 0049 / 89 / 9224 1696,