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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Formal evaluation of teachers: An examination of the relationship between teacher performance and student achievement
by Washington, Andrea Davis, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2011, 185; 3454838
Abstract (Summary)

Teacher quality has been identified by multiple sources as the most influential factor in student achievement. While the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated that all teachers be deemed “highly qualified” for their positions, it made no provision to require the evaluation of their performance once they began their work with students. This study focused on teacher quality among veteran teachers, with a minimum of five years of teaching experience, within the framework of an existing system of summative performance evaluation. The variable of teacher quality was defined by the performance dimensions measured in a specific teacher evaluation system, Performance Assessment System for Teachers (PAS-T), and was compared to the variable of student achievement, as measured by Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).

This study required the use of multiple regression analysis and a standardized beta to illustrate how well student performance in mathematics and reading predicted teacher quality. The predictors used were student scores on MAP in both reading and mathematics, while the criterion variable was overall teacher quality as measured by a rating composite variable. This study was based on a sample of teachers with high teacher quality, as defined by the district’s evaluation system. The study results indicated that there is a statistically significant relationship between the two variables, though it is extremely low. When the regression analysis took both mathematics and reading into account, and while controlling for reading, mathematics is a strong predictor of teacher quality. The narrow definition of teacher quality in this study proved to be problematic in the establishment of sufficient range to get workable variance among scores. While this study did not provide the opportunity to demonstrate a correlation between teacher quality and student performance in mathematics and reading, the results did yield that student performance can be a predictor of teacher quality, particularly in mathematics. Much more research must be done to more clearly define the variable of teacher quality and its relationship to student achievement.

The results of the study indicated that isolating the variable of teacher quality when analyzing student achievement is a complex undertaking. Other research has shown that there are many other factors that influence student performance, which are unrelated to teacher quality. These and other variables that impact student achievement were outside the scope of this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harrill, Lynn
Commitee: Jeffries, Rhonda, Kelehear, Zach, McCreary, Jason
School: University of South Carolina
Department: Educational Administration
School Location: United States -- South Carolina
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration
Keywords: Achievement, Formal evaluation, Student achievement, Teacher evaluation
Publication Number: 3454838
ISBN: 978-1-124-64858-3
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