Effects of teacher-student ethnic matching on kindergarteners' academic achievement and on teachers' ratings of kindergarteners' academic performance
Zhang, Yubo, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Konold, Timothy, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Rimm-Kaufman, Sara, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Fan, Xitao, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Gansneder, Bruce, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Recruiting and retaining teachers from minority background have been important aspects of national educational policy to serve the increasingly diverse public school student population. The underlining hypothesis of this policy is that minority teachers are more effective in educating minority children. However, the limited empirical research demonstrates inconclusive findings, and little has examined the effects of teacher-student ethnic matching when students get initial exposure to formal schooling.
This study examined to what extent, kindergarteners' academic achievement and teachers' ratings of kindergarteners' academic performance were influenced by teacher student ethnic matching after controlling for other correlates of outcome variables. Sample of the current study was drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten Cohort 1998-99 (ECLS-K) Base-Year Public Data File. Students were divided into four different teacher-student ethnic matching groups: White students taught by White teachers (WW); White students taught by Black teachers (WB); Black students taught by Black teachers (BB); and Black students taught by White. teachers (BW). A basic two-level model was used to examine the effects of teacher-student ethnic matching on students' academic achievement and teachers' ratings of students' academic performance after controlling for students' gender, kindergarten entry age, SES, family type, previous achievement level/previous rating scores and time gap between measurements.
Results of the current study showed that ethnic matching did not have any effect in students' reading achievement or in math achievement as measured by standardized tests. Black students taught by Black teachers achieved about the same scores at the end of kindergarten year as Black students taught by White teachers. However, ethnic matching did influence teachers' ratings of students' reading performance. Black students taught by Black teachers had significant higher rating scores than those taught by White teachers. These results imply that increasing number of minority teachers or matching minority teachers with minority students alone does not necessarily help improve Black students' academic achievement or close the Black-White achievement gap at least in kindergarten years. It also indicates that minority teachers are not necessarily less effective in educating non-minority students.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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