Effective Learning Time

How is it defined?

Effective learning time pertains to teachers’ use of classroom time, such as whether classes are well organised and important concepts are taught well. Teachers that deliver quality instruction are aware of, understand, and actively pursue goals. These goals are concerned directly or indirectly with student learning.

The Learning Bar’s framework on the drivers of student outcomes includes measures of quality instruction, school context, classroom context and family context. The domain of quality instruction in Tell Them From Me® is inspired by and consistent with the model of instruction set out by Anderson (2004) and includes measures of effective learning time, relevance and high-yield teaching strategies.

Why is it important?

  • Models of student learning maintain that the rate at which students learn depend on quality instruction, engagement, the classroom learning climate and learning time (Slavin 1994; Willms, 2010).
  • One of the first studies of learning time distinguished between allocated time, engaged time, and academic learning time (Berliner, 1979). Students’ productive learning time depends on how efficiently teachers use class time.
  • Detailed studies of teachers’ classroom behaviours have found that a critical element associated with learning gain is teachers’ effective use of class time (Scheerens, 1992).

How do we measure it?

In Tell Them From Me, in both the primary and secondary school questionnaires, students respond to Likert questions regarding the effective use of classroom time. On the secondary school survey, students are only asked questions about subjects they are currently enrolled in from among three subject areas - English, Maths and Science. The scores are scaled on a 10-point scale. The results are reported as ‘the average score for effective learning time’.



Anderson, L. W. (2004). Increasing teacher effectiveness (2nd ed). Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.

Berliner, D. C. (1979) Tempus Educare. In Peterson, P. L. and Walberg, H. J (Eds.), Research on Teaching. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing.

Scheerens, J. (1992). Effective schooling: Research, theory, and practice. London: Cassell.

Slavin, R. E. (1994). Quality, appropriateness, incentive, and time: a model of instructional effectiveness. International Journal of Educational Research, 21(2), 141-158.

Willms, J. D. (2010). School composition and contextual effects on student outcomes. Teachers College Record, 112(4), 1008-1037.