A Powerful Programme to Improve Schools Achievement

How to Be an Effective and Efficient Teacher?


Quality, Effectiveness and Efficiency

‘Teaching quality’, ‘teaching effectiveness’ and ‘teaching efficiency’ have been used interchangeably in much of the research literature. Effectiveness is the degree to which objectives are achieved. In contrast to efficiency., effectiveness is determined without reference to costs. Effectiveness is a measure of achieving the required results, whereas “efficiency” is a measure of results against resources such as time, money, materials … etc. Efficiency is a measure of the amount of resources required in order to meet the goals. Something that can achieve the same goals using fewer resources is more efficient.  The concept of efficiency applies to a large number of fields, including education. Effectiveness is about doing the right task and achieving goals, efficiency is about doing things in an optimal way, for example doing it the fastest or in the least expensive way. Efficiency is the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result.


One way to understand the efficiency concept in the field of education is to consider the following quote from Professor Dylan Wiliam, Director of the Institute of Education in London: “If you get one of the best teachers, you will learn in six months what an average teacher will take a year to teach you. If you get one of the worst teachers, that same learning will take you two years. There’s a four-fold difference in the speed of learning created by the most and the least effective teachers. And it’s not class size, it’s not between class grouping, it’s not within class grouping – it’s the quality of the teacher.” The issue here is teaching efficiency. Teaching efficiency is related to the rate of change and improvement over time and can be defined as the amount of learning per unit time. More efficient teaching means faster to produce the same learning outcomes. . The following example explains the concept of Teaching Efficiency:
Students in the most efficient teaching learn at four times the speed of those in the least efficient teaching, regardless what teaching methods and strategies are used. It is clear that effectiveness, can be achieved through inefficient processes.

Teaching Quality

The quality of teaching and learning provision is by far the most salient influences on students’ learning – regardless of their gender or backgrounds. It is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. Teaching Quality depends on two factors: Teaching Effectiveness (what teaching strategies are used) and Teaching Efficiency (how to use these strategies). We define Teaching Quality as that teaching which is  both Effective  and  Efficient
Smart Teaching System provides teachers the right tools and resources that enable them to create great learning results.

Measuring Teaching Efficiency

Despite the considerable published research on teacher evaluation, it is still a major problem in the school system today. Literature exists to support many evaluation methods but there is no agreement on a valid and reliable evaluation method, including  evaluating teachers by their students’ achievement. Some researchers do not agree to rely on student test score gains for teacher evaluation, even when value-added model (VAM) method is used. Research in social science, sometimes, complicates the issue and even produce conflicting results. Researchers, educators, and policymakers struggle to make sense of these often inconclusive or mixed results. There are always problems of, reliability, and validity in social science research and there remains a great deal of controversy about what constitutes teacher and teaching quality. At this point it is important to differentiate between teacher evaluation and teaching evaluation and between teacher quality and teaching quality. When things get complicated, remember the basics, that is: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

By their fruits ye shall know them

Teacher efficiency can be measured by means of Standardized test. A teacher merit is directly proportional to the changes he engenders in his pupil. His training, personality, initiative, health, skill in teaching, ability as a disciplinarian, etc., are significant only for the effects which they produce in the pupils. In other words, “By their fruits ye shall know them”. Therefore, teacher should be considered most efficient who engenders in his pupils the greatest growth in achievement and that teacher as least efficient who engenders the least growth. (Monroe, Clark, 1924).

“Learning power is developed more by how - than by what - we teach”. Dylan Wiliam.

Teacher Quality: Personal traits, skills, and understandings.

  • Education, experience, credentials, licensure
  • Content and pedagogical knowledge
  • Dispositions, beliefs, expectations, values

Teacher Effectiveness:

  • Teacher effects on students
  • Student achievement
  • Student attitudes, behaviour, motivation, social and emotional well-being

Teaching Quality:

  • Teaching Effectiveness, and Teaching Efficiency
  • Focus on learning

Teaching Effectiveness:

  • Teaching that uses Evidence-based effective strategies
  • Focus on teaching

Teaching Efficiency:

  • The amount of learning per unit time to enable students to reach certain desired outcomes.
  • Focus on learning

It may surprise you – it was certainly surprising to us – but the field of education doesn’t know very much at all about effective teaching. […] This ignorance has serious ramifications. We can’t give teachers the right kind of support because there’s no way to distinguish the right kind from the wrong kind. We can’t evaluate teaching because we’re not consistent in what we’re looking for. We can’t spread best practices because we can’t capture them in the first place.

– Bill and Melinda Gates, 2011