Teacher expectations crucial to learning

Perception is reality when it comes to teachers and their expectations of their students.

Christine Rubie-Davies
Professor Christine Rubie-Davies and Alexandra Thomas, Director of the Office of Research Strategy and Integrity.

What is the impact of teacher expectations on student learning?

Professor Christine Rubie-Davies of the Faculty of Education and Social Work has found that teachers with high expectations believed that all their students would make significant gains, relative to their achievement at the start of the year.

Conversely, teachers with low expectations believed that their students would make little progress. After one year, students with high-expectation teachers made the equivalent of two years’ academic growth, whereas students with low expectation teachers made negligible gains.

Her research sparked a transformational change within schools and throughout Aotearoa. Her book on how to become a high expectation teacher is required reading for teachers in many schools, and led to the development of a professional learning programme for teachers.

The research resulted in changes to policy and several key agencies actively discouraging grouping students by ability.

Students throughout Aotearoa benefit from this research no matter their school, decile, age, gender, or ethnicity. Professor Christine Rubie-Davies was awarded a Research Impact Award at the 2022 Celebrating Research Excellence event at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

Media contact

Gilbert Wong
E: gilbert.wong@auckland.ac.nz

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