Effective learning time

Effective learning time is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

Effective learning time refers to teachers' use of classroom time, such as whether lessons 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 Tell Them From Me surveys ask students about their teachers' behaviours which indicate effective use of learning time. In secondary schools, students are asked only about subjects they are currently enrolled in from among English, Maths and Science. The results are reported as the average of students' scores for their teachers.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Effective classroom practice Classroom management

Why is it important?

Students' productive learning time depends on how efficiently teachers use lesson time and this is associated with the rate at which students' learn.

Evidence base

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.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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