Two teachers – investigating the effect of an increased teacher-pupil ratio

How significant is the teacher-pupil ratio when it comes to the learning outcome and learning environment of elementary school children? The question has caused great debate, however international studies are divided on the matter. Two Teachers is one of two large research projects investigating the effect of an increased teacher-pupil ratio for Norwegian pupils.

Published Updated on

lærer med jente
(Photo: Elisabeth Tønnessen)

The Norwegian government has allocated NOK 400 million to more teachers in grades 1 to 4. In addition, NOK 50 million is granted to two large research projects investigating the effect of an increased teacher-pupil ratio in elemenatry school classrooms: Two Teachers is lead by associate professor Oddny Judith Solheim at the Norwegian Reading Centre, and studies the effect of an increased teacher-pupil ratio in literacy instruction.

Two Teachers has been granted a total of NOK 160 million, making this one of the largest research projects on education in Norwegian history. The Reading Centre is leading the study, in cooperation with the Centre for Learning Environment and the University of Stavanger Business School.

– Lowering the pupil-teacher ratio provides increased opportunities for teachers. The determining factor for children’s learning outcomes seems to be the extent to which teachers exploit these opportunities. The project looks at whether increased knowledge amongst teachers about literacy instruction, and the implementation of carefully developed instructional approaches and programmes, can boost the effect of a lower pupil-teacher ratio, and thus improve learning, says associate professor and project manager Oddny Judith Solheim.

(Photo: Elisabeth Tønnessen)
Publications and disemmination

Project description and results can be found at CRISTIN - Current Researcing Information System in Norway

Published articles: 

Oddny Judith Solheim, Mari Rege & Erin McTigue: Study protocol: “Two Teachers”: A randomized controlled trial investigating individual and complementary effects of teacher-student ratio in literacy instruction and professional development for teachers 
International Journal of Educational Research, Volume 86, 2017, Pages 122-130

Maria Therese Jensen, Oddny Judith Solheim og Ella Maria Cosmovici Idsøe: Do you read me? Associations between perceived teacher emotional support, reader self-concept, and reading achievement Social Psychology of Education, Januar 2019.

Håland, A., Hoem, T.F. & McTigue, E.M.: Writing in First Grade: The Quantity and Quality of Practices in Norwegian Classrooms 
Early Childhood Education Journal (2018). 

Oddny J. Solheim & Vibeke Opheim: Beyond class size reduction: Towards more flexible ways of implementing a reduced pupil–teacher ratio 
International Journal of Educational Research (online November 2018, in press)