Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing the impact of teacher beliefs on student achievement
by Frentress, Jennifer L., Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2014, 185; 3642432
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the impact of cultural competency training and an equity agenda on teacher beliefs and expectations as they relate to student achievement. Despite excessive investment in education reform, prevailing efforts continue to produce inequitable outcomes. I want to advance a theory of action that promotes embedding discourse and training to build understanding of the diverse student populations in our public schools as a strategy to improve student outcomes.

I used a mixed methods research design to study the impact of cultural competency training on teachers' beliefs about the students they teach and to examine the relationship between the training and the achievement of those students. Methods included a web-based questionnaire, interviews of teachers, leaders, and consultants, document review, and analysis of student achievement scores in one school. Quantitative findings suggest a relationship between teacher beliefs and student outcomes: as teachers participated in cultural competency training, student achievement on the statewide reading test increased for all student groups and the gaps between groups decreased. Qualitative findings show an increased understanding of diverse student and family needs and improved understanding of personal bias changed teachers' beliefs and perceptions about their students and led teachers to hold higher expectations academically for their students.

While the scale of this study was small (one school in one district), findings support the need for cultural competency training in schools and districts experiencing a gap in achievement between more affluent and white students and culturally or linguistically diverse student populations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carr, Carolyn S.
Commitee: Exposito, Sara, Favela, Alejandra
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education
Keywords: Cultural competency, Student achievement, Teacher beliefs
Publication Number: 3642432
ISBN: 978-1-321-29255-8
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