Bar Ilan University (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 998-999 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0334
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
School principals report a lack of information for the effective assignment of teachers to classes (Midthassel, 2004). Assignment options include low or high levels, classes with or without disproportionate behavioral problems, classes of older or younger students (Kalogrides & Loebe, 2013).
This study examines several questions: Which factors contribute to the successful assignment of teachers to the various levels? Can teachers succeed in all class levels or only in some of them? The findings may contribute to revealing which factors to consider for the intelligent assignment of teachers to classes.

312 academic high school teachers in Israel were asked about their feelings of self-efficacy for teaching high- and low- level math classes, their professional efficacy for teaching students with thinking difficulties and their attitudes toward high- and low- achieving students. In addition extensive information was gathered about the teachers' mathematics education.

Research tools:
Questionnaire of personal teaching efficacy
Questionnaire of self-efficacy for advancing weak students (Rich, Lev & Fischer, 1996)
Questionnaire of teacher's attitudes toward students with low- /high- achievements
Questionnaire of teacher preference for assignment to low, intermediate and high level classes and actual assignment by management

More than 50% of the students in math classes are tested at the low level but only about 30% of the teachers express efficacy for teaching the low level. Fewer than 20% of the students are assigned to the high level but about 50% of the teachers feel especially high efficacy for teaching this group.
Factors were identified to explain teacher success at the various class levels but after the teacher efficacy measure was taken into account, teachers' academic education level was not among them.

The hypothesis was discussed that developing efficacy for teaching low level groups requires new directions of thought. However, it is doubtful that raising the academic level of teachers, by itself, will contribute to attaining this objective. Back in 1936 a philosopher wrote that "it is known from experience with human nature that a person who is great in wisdom will have difficulty teaching and explaining matters of wisdom and thought to the masses…and that those whose wisdom is greater, will have difficulty in teaching and understanding the common people properly" (Epstein, 1936).

Practical applications:
Guiding principles are offered for assigning teachers to classes in light of the unique needs of the students with low- and high- level abilities.

[1] Epstein, B. (1936). Added Blessing. Russia: Pinsk, p. 323
[2] Kalogrides, D., & Loeb, S. (2013). Different teachers, different peers: The magnitude of student sorting within schools. Educational Researcher, 42(6), 304-316.
[3] Midthassel, U. V. (2004). Teacher involvement in school development activity and its relationships to attitudes and subjective norms among teachers: A study of Norwegian elementary and junior high school teachers. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(3), 435-456.
[4] Rich, Y., Lev, S., & Fischer, S. (1996). Extending the concept and assessment of teacher efficacy. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 56(6), 1015-1025.
Mathematics teaching, principals, teacher assignment to classes, inequality.