Teachers using these and other practices also balance students’ individual learning needs while providing grade-level content and high expectations. Flexible instructional strategies allow them to make in-the-moment pivots to meet those needs.

However, this can be difficult when a classroom has 30 diverse learners, said Chase Nordengren, author of the study and principal research lead for effective instructional strategies at NWEA.

“From my perspective, the core of improving learning is really about improving the quality of that [student-teacher] interaction, changing that interaction in ways that produce more learning for students, that engage them more, that make them feel more empowered and comfortable,” Nordengren said.