Can you ever forget your first grade schoolteacher? Possibly not. That's because the first teacher in our school lives has a huge influence on us, and researchers say that having a bad teacher in the reception year can harm a child's entire academic prowess!
Researchers at Durham University found that the effect of having an exceptionally poor - or an unusually good - teacher in the first year at primary school was still detectable six years later.
The findings suggest that many pupils are being betrayed by schools that, in an effort to rise up national league tables, concentrate their best teachers on pupils about to take their Sats tests at the age of 11.
"More effort needs to be spent on the most valuable years which are the earliest years," Times Online quoted study's lead author Peter Tymms, professor of education at Durham University, as saying.
For the study, the researchers analysed the progress in learning vocabulary, reading and mathematics of more than 73,000 primary school pupils who were tested at the beginning of their schooling in 1999 and then annually until 2005.
Kids who were in classes in the bottom 16 percent of progress in the reception year performed, on average, around a fifth of a level worse in their Sats test than those whose class progress was average.
On the other hand, those whose classes progressed most in reception year performed about a fifth of a level better.
According to researchers, the effect of good and bad teaching is cumulative, so if a child is unlucky enough to have a poor teacher every year of their primary school career, this would make a difference of an entire level in their test performance.
"The residual effect lasts as long as we can measure it," said Tymms.
The study is published in the journal Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability.