Assessing how high-quality classroom resources might support better teaching

Two children laughing together in a school classroom

A new evaluation undertaken by CEI shows Australian primary school teachers value the provision of high-quality pre-prepared teaching materials to boost classroom performance.

More than 5,700 teachers in low socio-educational schools were given a year’s access to an online bank of lesson plans and teacher-ready resources, through the platform Inquisitive, with Federal Government support. CEI investigated teachers’ views on the impact of this access on their own outcomes and wellbeing, on student engagement and in reducing time spent on lesson planning and preparation.

“Reducing administrative burdens on teachers is an ongoing challenge,” explains CEI Director Dr Vanessa Rose, who led the evaluation. “Research shows that fewer than 1 in 10 Australian teachers feel they have sufficient time to prepare for effective teaching – which is the core task of their role.”

“Having high-quality common resources available has been estimated to save a teacher three hours each week. These hours can then be invested in educationally beneficial activities, such as improving teaching practice or developing better ways to support their students.”

“During the period they used the Inquistive resource bank, teachers told us their overall administrative burden was reduced, their classroom confidence and performance improved, and students’ engagement was increased,” says Vanessa.

Although wellbeing findings were mixed – there were initial gains, but these may not be sustained over time – responses showed that when teachers feel they have sufficient time to prepare for effective teaching, there is an overall sense of improved wellbeing.

“This indicates that teachers who have sufficient time to prepare are less likely to be negatively impacted by the stresses of their work,” Vanessa notes.

And other benefits may flow from these gains. For example, teachers using Inquisitive resources reported greater use of high-impact teaching strategies across all subjects – even beyond the immediate scope of the materials. High-impact teaching strategies (HITS) are instructional practices proven to increase student learning.

“This suggests teachers are applying insights from the HITS embedded in Inquisitive materials across all their work, which is encouraging,” says Vanessa.

“What we’re seeing in this evaluation are exactly the kinds of wins needed to support teachers in the most socio-economically disadvantaged schools. Reducing unnecessary administrative load enables teachers to focus on what matters – high-impact teaching.”