Student performance and teacher quality

Start date: 06 augustus 2009

At the moment this project aims at answering two research questions. The first question is `do teacher characteristics affect student outcomes?’ and the second question is `are student outcomes affected by differences in lecturing styles?’. We will now shortly elaborate on these two research questions and show the current status of the project. First research question: do teacher characteristics affect student outcomes? There is a teacher quality paradox: concerns are being voiced about diminishing teacher quality, but, at the same time, there is no consensus on what a `good quality’ teacher is. Research concerning teacher quality in relation to student outcomes has mainly been done for the U.S, and it remains unclear which teacher characteristics are of importance and how we should measure some of these characteristics. To examine how teacher characteristics affect student outcomes for the Netherlands we need information on teachers and their students over time. In this way we can monitor changes in student outcomes (such as changes in reading and math performance) and relate  them to teacher characteristics. However, these data are currently not available and so we plan to collect them within another project where extended school days and summer schools in primary education are evaluated for four years. Based on the data that we have in mind, we first plan to replicate the U.S. research for the Netherlands by relating standard teacher characteristics, such as years of teaching experience, highest education level, age and sex to student outcomes. Second, we relate teacher characteristics to student outcomes that are less often considered, such as the lecturing styles of teachers, teacher and teaching attitudes and whether teachers have children of their own. Third, we examine an interesting research question for the Netherlands, namely, whether the route to the highest education level is related with student performance. This is interesting because it is sometimes said that teacher graduates of the PABO who have done and finished MBO perform less well than teacher graduates who have done and finished HAVO/VWO. Project status and forecast: The first data collection is planned in February and the second data collection is planned in June. At the moment the teacher surveys are made and we in the starting up phase of the experiment. As soon as the February and June data are collected and received we can examine the research question(s) stated above. Second research question: are student outcomes affected by differences in lecturing styles?Because there is hardly empirical evidence that observed teacher characteristics are related to student performance, this raises the question if the things that teachers do during class are more important than the observed characteristics of the teacher.  Therefore, we examine how differences in lecturing styles affect the performance of students with respect to math and science. For this purpose we use the TIMSS data.Current status: the data is cleaned and the estimation strategy is determined.Project forecast: The analyses are now being and a first working paper is expected in October/November.

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