The Relationship Between Selected Attributes of Algebra I Teachers and Student Achievement on the Algebra I SOL Test in Grades 9-12
Miles, Bernardine Goode
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This study of the relationship between teacher attributes and student scores on the SOL Algebra I Test in Grades 9-12 focused on three prominent teacher attributes: certification, specialization in math, and years of experience teaching math. The study also assessed two additional relationships: 1) the relationship between student socioeconomic status, as reflected in the percentage of students who receive free or reduced fee lunch, and the SOL test score; and 2) the association between teacher perceptions of Stronge's (2002) domains of effective teaching and achievement on the SOL Algebra test. Teachers who taught high school Algebra I in the Commonwealth of Virginia voluntarily completed a questionnaire about their experiences and educational preparation, and their perceptions of teacher attributes that contribute to student achievement in Algebra. The study found no significant relationships between the teacher attributes and student achievement on the Algebra I SOL test. Only two of Stronge's domains of effective teaching, Teacher as a Person and Monitoring Student Progress and Potential , were statistically significant. These findings affirm recent reports that traditional measures of teacher quality such as seniority or certification, or established views of effective teaching may not be related to student achievement. The study found that the students' socioeconomic status had a statistically significant association with student achievement on the Algebra I SOL test. Although the study findings are limited because of the small sample size and the homogenous sample of Virginia teachers, the findings are consistent with recent reports on effective teaching, and widespread educational reform. Studies that are specifically focused on the teaching of subjects such as Algebra could help to identify the characteristics of great math teachers and the unique teaching strategies these teachers use to help students successfully learn math. New research that utilizes qualitative research methods has the potential to identify additional classroom strategies and approaches used by great teachers. In 2009, No Child Left Behind requires that all schools find, hire, and retain highly qualified teachers for core subject areas. The findings of this study suggest that traditional measures for hiring and rewarding teachers may need to be expanded to include new perspectives on selecting effective teachers.
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