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:
- Postive reading effects for black students across all grades.
- No significant reading effects for white students or Asian/Pacific Islander students across grades.
- No significant reading effects for elementary Hispanic students, and negative reading effect for middle and high school Hispanic students.
- May be due to the diversity of the Hispanic population in Florida. Hispanics in Florida identify as a wide variety of origins, which makes true race/ethnicity matching more complex.
- No significant math effects for black students.
- Positive math effects for white students.
- No significant math effects for elementary Hispanic students, and negative effects for middle and high school Hispanic students
- No significant math effects for elementary Asian/Pacific Islander students, but the largest overall positive and significant effect for middle and high school Asian/Pacific Islander students.
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.
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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