Representation in the Classroom: The Effect of Own-Race/Ethnicity Teacher Assignment on Student Achievement

Representation in the Classroom: The Effect of Own-Race/Ethnicity Teacher Assignment on Student Achievement

Issue/Topic: Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap Teaching Quality
Author(s): Egalite, Anna J.; Kisida, Brian; Winters, Marcus A.
Organization(s): University of Arkansas; University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Publication: Economics of Education Review
Published On: 1/31/2015

Previous research shows a relationship between teacher race/ethnicity and student achievement, and related research shows that teachers' subjective evaluation of students' classroom behavior and aptitude may be influenced by student race/ethnicity.

To test claims that minority teachers can boost the performance of minority students

Overall, the results indicate that assignment to an own-race/ethnicity teacher has positive math and reading achievement impacts for black, white and Asian/Pacific Islander students. 

Own-race/ethnicity matching effect on reading achievement: Own-Race/ethnicity matching effect on math achievement:
Policy Implications/Recommendations:
Assignment to an own-race/ethnicity teacher can have positive impacts on minority student performance. Teachers of the same race/ethnicity can serve as positive role models and may be more inclined to hold high expectations for a student's potential. As the proportion of minority students in America's schools continues to grow, aggressive recruiting of minority teachers is one policy level to help improve the performance of minority students.  
Research Design:
Used unique student and teacher identifiers and student fixed effects to estimate the relationship between teacher and student same-race/ethnicity and student achievement.

Over 2.9 million Florida students linked to more than 92,000 Florida teachers.

Year data is from:
2001-02 school year through 2008-09 school year


Data Collection and Analysis:
Analyzed student achievement outcomes using a large administrative dataset of student-level data provided by the Florida Department of Education. Data collected included student demographic information and student test scores on the math and reading portions of the state-mandated standardized exam, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

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