Relationships among teacher quality characteristics and reading and mathematics achievement in Title I schools in the Alabama Black Belt Region

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships existing among teacher quality characteristics and reading and math achievement on the Alabama Reading and Math Test in Title I schools in the Western and Midwestern regions of Alabama. The population identified was 57 schools in 13 school districts (seven feeder schools, five schools with sixth grade only, one school with fifth through sixth grades, and one school with fourth through sixth grades). The sample consisted of 29 schools and 9 school districts and a sample of 284 teachers. This study used descriptive statistics, bivariate (Spearman) correlation, and multiple regression to analyze data to answer three research questions addressing relationships among teachers' pedagogical knowledge, educational background, years of experience, grade level configuration (assignment) and professional development (independent variables), and reading/mathematics achievement (dependent variables) on the Alabama Reading and Math Test. A field test was conducted in a neighboring school district to assist the researcher in evaluating the participants' responses to survey questions, to determine whether the survey questions had the potential to produce the desired data, and to evaluate the wording of the questions on the survey. Particularly, this study verified that teachers' grade level configuration is significantly related to the students' math and reading achievement on the Alabama Reading and Math Test. In the same way, this study also confirmed that teachers' years as a full-time teacher is a significant predictor of student math achievement and teachers' years taught in the public school sector is a significant predictor or student reading achievement. Also, this study confirmed that teachers' professional development components such as Alabama Reading Initiative Training (ARI) is negatively significant to reading achievement on the Alabama Reading and Math Test. These findings were consistently constructed based on statistical analyses, which may have important and practical implications. In effect, such information may be useful for school administrators to continue to examine teacher quality characteristics to determine, which teacher quality characteristics influence student achievement. Furthermore, these findings may guide strategic decisions, mostly those referred to implement policies to improve teacher quality as well as other education policies to motivate high-quality teaching.

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Teacher education, Pedagogy, Educational administration