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What Large-Scale Survey Research Tells Us About Teacher Effects on Student Achievement: Insights from the Prospects Study of Elementary Schools.


by Brian Rowan, Richard Correnti & Robert Miller — 2002

This paper discusses conceptual and methodological issues that arise when educational researchers use data from large-scale, survey research to examine the effects of teachers and teaching on student achievement. Using data from Prospects: The Congressionally Mandated Study of Educational Growth and Opportunity 1991-1994, we show that researchers’ use of different statistical models has led to widely varying interpretations about the overall magnitude of teacher effects on student achievement. However, we conclude that in well-specified models of academic growth, teacher effects on elementary school students’ growth in reading and mathematics achievement are substantial (with d-type effect sizes ranging from .72 to .85). We also conclude that various characteristics of teachers and their teaching account for these effects, including variation among teachers in professional preparation and content knowledge, use of teaching routines, and patterns of content coverage, with effect sizes for variables measuring these characteristics of teachers and their teaching showing d-type effect sizes in the range of .10. The paper concludes with an assessment of the current state of the art in large-scale, survey research on teaching. Here, we conclude that survey researchers must simultaneously improve their measures of instruction while paying careful attention to issues of causal inference in order.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 8, 2002, p. 1525-1567
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11041, Date Accessed: 3/29/2017 9:16:29 AM

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About the Author
  • Brian Rowan
    School of Education, University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    BRIAN ROWAN is a professor of education at the University of Michigan and director of the Study of Instructional Improvement, conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. His scholarly interest focuses on the organizational analysis of schooling, paying special attention to the ways in which schools organize and manage instruction and affect student learning. Rowan’s recent publications appear in Hoy and Miskel (Eds.), Theory and Research in Educational Administration (Vol. 1) and the Journal of Educational Change.
  • Richard Correnti
    School of Education, University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    RICHARD CORRENTI is a doctoral candidate in educational administration and policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests include the measurement of instruction, instructional effects on student learning, and program evaluation of educational reform interventions.
  • Robert Miller
    School of Education, University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    ROBERT J. MILLER is a doctoral candidate in educational administration and policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His main fields of interest are educational policy, organizational theory, and analysis of school effectiveness.
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