Teacher Qualification and Student Academic Achievement

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  • Published : May 19, 2013
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Teacher Qualifications and
Student Academic Achievement

M. Wong
Senior Thesis in Economics

ABSTRACT
This study examines whether teacher qualifications are related to student academic achievement, specifically, we examine the relationship between fifth grade student achievement in mathematics and reading and various indicators of teacher qualifications such as teacher certification, teaching experience and teacher’s education level. This research design takes advantage of the National Childhood Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Class of 1998-19999 (ECLS-K). The analysis indicates that elementary school certification promotes student achievement in both fifth grade mathematics and reading, while teacher’s teaching experience matters more for reading than mathematics. In terms of teacher education, we found no significant effects on increasing students’ test scores. However, our results indicate that students’ race, their parents’ education level, and their socioeconomic status have a larger effect on test scores than teachers’ education, experience, or the general state certification.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

It took me a long time before I found the right data for this research. Without the guidance of Dr. Liza Herzog, Senior Research Associate of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Dr Elizabeth Useem, a Senior Research Consultant at the Research for Action and Dr. Ruth Neild, a Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University, this would not have been possible. I would like to add a special thanks to Professor Thomas Dee, Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of Public Policy Program at Swarthmore College, who suggested that I look at this particular data set (ECLS-K). I am extremely grateful for his advice, since this project would not have gotten this far without his help. I also thank my advisor Professor Saleha Jilani, who supervised the entirety of the project. Her patience and kindness with me over the months are deeply appreciated. Finally, I want to extend my gratitude to Professor Thomas Vartanian at Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work for his inspiration to study the education inequality in the United States, and also my family and friends for their continuous encouragement during my semester of completing this project. Table of Contents

I. Introduction ……………………………………………………..………. 1 II. Previous Literature ………………….……..………………….………… 4 III. Model ……….…………….………….………………………….……... 10 IV. Data ……………………………………..………………………………. 21 V. Results and Analysis ……………..……... ……………………………... 25 VI. Conclusion ……………………………………………………….……… 31 VII. References ……………………………………………………….………. 33

I. INTRODUCTION
The reputable national goal of providing high quality public education in the United States of America is extremely expensive and often involves disjointed bureaucracies of the public school systems. According to the US Census Bureau, in the fiscal year 2006, school districts in the United States spent an average of $9,138 per student, an increase of $437 from 2005 (Edwards, 2008). Despite this increase in spending, the United States is still far from creating an equal opportunity for all its citizens. Is this a matter of the resources available, or a lack of coordination between local, state and federal governments, or social problems like poverty, which cause students to fail and drop out? With overwhelming bipartisan support, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into law by President Bush on January 8, 2002. The bill outlined President Bush’s public education reform agenda, proposing the most dramatic changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has tried to raise the academic performance of all students, since its enactment in 1965. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) includes significant new accountability measures for all public schools, such as closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged...
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