These findings contradict recent discussions I have had on campus – and my own gut feel – about the value of active-learning strategies. I would appreciate colleagues weighing in. Am I missing something or making a false comparison? Do we have other studies? What is our own experience? To borrow from my esteemed colleague, what do we think and know and what can we prove?
EducationNext just published an article that highlights the efficacy of lectures over class-based problem-solving time. From the article:
Contrary to contemporary pedagogical thinking, we find that students score higher on standardized tests in the subject in which their teachers spent more time on lecture-style presentations than in the subject in which the teacher devoted more time to problem-solving activities. For both math and science, a shift of 10 percentage points of time from problem solving to lecture-style presentations (e.g., increasing the share of time spent lecturing from 20 to 30 percent) is associated with an increase in student test scores of 1 percent of a standard deviation. Another way to state the same finding is that students learn less in the classes in which their teachers spend more time on in-class problem solving.
The researchers looked at eighth grade students. According the the paper, the results are statistically robust.