between teacher quality and student achievement . relationship between elementary and middle school . achievement in mathematics and reading at the . Key Words: teacher quality, student achievement, credentialization, multilevel effects to assess the relationship between teacher quality and student performance in associated with student performance in both reading and mathematics. The effect of teacher quality on student achievement in urban schools: a multilevel background or ability even when they have the same reading teachers.
Economically disadvantaged students, minority students, and students with limited English proficiency were more likely to be allocated to alternatively certified teachers. It implies that students with economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds lose a chance to have fully-certified or highly qualified teachers.
Campus accountability ratings were also significantly lower for schools that had more Teach for America TFA teachers than schools that had more fully-certified teachers. There were more alternative certified teachers and less fully-certified teachers in middle schools. Middle schools served a higher percentage of students that are economically disadvantaged, at-risk of dropping out, were LEP, and Hispanic.
The average campus accountability rating was also lower in middle schools than elementary schools.
Overall, school conditions in middle schools were more inferior than in elementary schools among urban schools in Texas.
Through multilevel analyses or three-level hierarchical linear modeling HLMI confirmed that student background or ability was the strongest predictor of student achievement as many previous studies have found.
Among variables regarding teacher qualifications, the fully-certified teacher variable was a solely significant and positive factor of student achievement in middle schools.
That is, students who had fully-certified teachers were more likely to achieve higher test scores than those who had under-certified and alternatively certified teachers after controlling all variables. The years of teaching experience and teacher educational attainment was not significant factors to explain student performance. Among school-level predictors, campus accountability ranking was a positively significant factor to predict student achievement in both elementary schools and middle schools.
The effect of teacher quality on student achievement in urban schools : a multilevel analysis
The percentage of economically disadvantaged students in campus was negatively associated with student achievement in middle schools. To address research questions, an interaction effect between teacher certification status and the achievement of LEP students was added on the three-level model. Student achievement is operationalized as the percentage of students who achieve proficiency on state-issued reading and mathematics exams.
I test and find support for two hypotheses that teacher credentialization has positive effects on both measures of student achievement. Given the variance in the distribution of credentialed teachers across California, this finding is relevant to policy makers concerned with educational egalitarianism.
Several factors contribute to these achievement gaps, but those with the largest impact—and also those most easily remedied by policy changes—are school factors such as adjustments to curriculum, class size, availability of technology, teacher preparation and experience Barton and Coley Teacher quality, in particular, is seen as the most important variable affecting student achievement, even more so than demographic factors Darling-Hammond However, there is a significant discrepancy in access to high quality teachers: S are less likely to be taught by certified teachers Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdora, b, and are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers Barton and Coley This discrepancy in access to high quality teachers contributes to the achievement gap between racial and socioeconomic groups Clotfelter et al More disconcerting is that, not only have these discrepancies in access to equal educational resources remained consistent over time, but in many cases—such as with access to certified teachers—the gaps are widening Barton and Coley These achievement gaps persist despite an elevated priority among politicians in redressing them Barton and Coley To better understand the correlated discrepancies in student achievement and access to quality teachers, it is useful to re-examine the relationship between those two factors.
It is beneficial to test these relationships in different contexts using different methods, especially since many extant studies in the sociology of education are focused on elementary schools and rely on correlation analyses or simple regression techniques to analyze the relationship between these variables.
I therefore employ multilevel regression models with fixed effects to assess the relationship between teacher quality and student performance in California high schools, considering both school-level Level 1 and district-level Level 2 factors.
I explore two research questions. First, do schools with higher percentages of credentialed teachers have higher percentages of students who achieve proficiency on state-issued reading exams?
Second, do schools with higher percentages of credentialed teachers have higher percentages of students who achieve proficiency on state-issued mathematics exams? I find support that teacher credentialization is positively associated with student performance in both reading and mathematics. This reaffirms the need for policy makers seeking to close the student achievement gaps to focus on providing all students equal access to credentialed teachers.
Theoretical Context Teacher Quality and Student Achievement Sociology of education researchers have long debated the impact of school resources on student performance.
Some contend that schools have little independent impact compared to social context or student demographics Coleman et al. While a plethora of background factors such as race, socioeconomic status, and home life parental involvement, nutrition, excessive television watching, etc. Thus, there is a consensus among most recent education research that school-level variables do impact student performance, with particularly strong effects for teacher characteristics Ferguson ; Sanders and Rivers ; Jordan et al.
In fact, several studies argue that teacher quality is so important that it can explain away the achievement gap that disfavors minority and low-income students.
For example, in their study of the ability of high quality teachers to close achievement gaps, Rowan et al. They found that the size of achievement gaps between students of different backgrounds within the same school varied by classroom, suggesting that some teachers are more effective at closing achievement gaps between students of different backgrounds.
Similarly, in a large-scale study on teacher quality and educational equality in Nevada, Borman and Kimball used multilevel models students nested in classrooms to show that classes taught by higher quality teachers produced higher mean achievement than those taught by lower quality teachers. Teacher quality was operationalized as experience and evaluation ratings. Their sample included nearly 5, elementary students and controlled for race, socioeconomic status, and student pre- and post-test scores.
In their longitudinal study of a cohort of elementary students, Sanders and Rivers found that the effects of teacher quality on student achievement are additive and cumulative. In examining student achievement data for a single cohort that spanned from second grade to fifth grade they found that student achievement at each grade was correlated positively with teacher quality.
Of most interest, though, was the discovery of residual and cumulative effects: Jordan found that fourth-grade students taught by highly effective teachers for three consecutive years scored thirty-five percentile points higher in reading and fifty percentile points higher in mathematics than a similar group who had been taught by a series of weak teachers.
In fact, Hanushek argues that the negative consequences of even one year of instruction from an ineffective teacher can be nearly impossible to fully overcome. This leads Prince Certainly student background characteristics impact student achievement, and attention should be paid to addressing inequalities in those realms, but these are factors external to public education policy.
In order to promote educational egalitarianism, school districts must strive to provide equal access to education resources. Such resources include expenditures per student and similar class sizes, but by far the most important resource is teacher quality. Measuring Teacher Quality While the literature agrees that teacher quality is important to student achievement, there is no standard definition of teacher quality, motivating some researchers to determine the relationship between various measures of teacher quality and student achievement.
For instance, in a study of New York City schools, it was found that differences in teacher qualifications educational degrees, certification status, and experience accounted for approximately ninety percent of the total variation in average school-level student achievement in reading and mathematics at all grade levels tested, holding student characteristics constant Armour-Thomas et al.
While it is clear that these differences in teacher qualifications matter to student achievement, it is less clear which has the most impact—something that is important to identify for school districts with constrained budgets trying to economize resources while maximizing student achievement.
While many teacher quality measures are thought to contribute to the distinction between a high and low quality teacher, certification status is often considered the most reliable and robust predictor of student achievement Darling-Hammond To become certified as a teacher in most states requires formal education in a state-approved education program, the completion of either a major or minor in the subject field, plus minimum satisfaction of education credits and student teaching credits Darling-Hammond Because of the strictness and thoroughness of these requirements, certification status is one of the strongest indicators of quality teacher performance.
Some in the education policy debate believe that teacher credentialization is a poor predictor of student achievement and should be discarded in favor of systems based on cognitive ability and classroom efficacy see Walsh However, a plethora of research finds that teacher credentialization, due to the positive relationship between educational training and teacher performance, significantly affects student achievement at both the elementary and high school levels Clotfelter et ala, b, ; Goldhaber and Anthony ; Rockoff Furthermore, uncertified teachers tend to be rated lower on their teaching skills by principals, supervisors, and colleagues Feiman-Nemser and Parker Goldhaber and Brewer found that certified teachers have a statistically significant positive impact on student test scores relative to teachers who are not certified in their subject area.
Fuller found that in Texas students in districts with higher proportions of licensed teachers were significantly more likely to pass state achievement tests even after controlling for student socioeconomic status, school wealth, and teacher experience.
Fetler analyzed standardized test scores of 1. Clotfelter et al examined the relationship between teacher credentialization and test scores for first- and second-year high school students in North Carolina.
Clotfelter et al examined the relationship between credentialization and EOC test scores in five subjects: They found that, overall, students taught by weak teachers were expected to perform nearly one-fourth a standard deviation lower on EOC tests than those taught by strong teachers.
Considering that education is a cumulative process and that the coefficient estimates do not account for measurement error in student exams Boyd et althe true effects of teacher credentials are likely much larger. Thus, Clotfelter et al conclude that the effect of teacher credentialization on student achievement is large and, therefore, credentialization is important enough that it should be considered in public policy decisions aimed at improving student achievement.
Given the maldistribution of high quality teachers in North Carolina that disadvantage poor and minority students Clotfelter et alpublic policy makers seeking to create egalitarian educations systems should take note.
In short, of the various measures of teacher quality, certification status is typically considered one of the strongest distinguishing factors affecting student achievement. However, extant literature examining the relationship between certification and student achievement has largely focused on elementary schools or has used simple regression techniques to test the relationship.
I seek to strengthen the robustness of this theorized relationship by employing multilevel regression models, which are a better fit for the nested data common to education studies. Data, Hypotheses, and Methods Data and Hypotheses To examine the relationship between teacher quality and student achievement, I collected data made publicly available by the California Department of Education.