09 SES 07 A, Teacher Characteristics and Practices – Exploring Relations to Student-, School- and System-level Variables
A large body of literature has shown that school composition may have a significant impact on student achievement. Indeed, disadvantaged school composition, such as lower socioeconomic composition or lower average performance, has often been associated with lower student performances (e.g. Condron 2009; De Fraine, Van Damme, & Onghena 2002; Dumay & Dupriez 2008; Duru-Bellat, Le Bastard-Landrier, & Piquée 2004). This phenomenon is known as "school compositional effect" and is defined as the impact of pupils’ aggregated characteristics, once these variables have been taken into account at the individual level (Dumay & Dupriez, 2008). Although the methodological issues related to the operationalization of a school composition effect has been extensively studied, considerably less is known about the underlying mechanisms that could explain this effect.
The general objective of this presentation is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between school socio-economic composition and student achievement. After verifying the existence of such a compositional effect in our data, we will investigate the mechanism by which school composition impacts student achievement. To do so, we will go beyond the classical "peer group effects" explanation (i.e. the positive or negative influence that pupils can have on each other) by investigating the potential impact of different teacher profiles on student performances. Specifically, we hypothesize that the link between school composition and student achievement is not a direct effect, but rather a (partly) indirect effect, mediate by teacher characteristics. We will focus our analysis on one particular teacher characteristic, namely teacher self-efficacy beliefs. Teacher self-efficacy refers to the teacher’s belief in their capability to organize and execute courses of action required to successfully accomplish their teaching tasks (Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998). Numerous studies have indicated that the beliefs that teachers hold about their teaching capabilities have a powerful influence on their teaching effectiveness (Capara et al., 2006; Guo et al. 2010; Guskey, 1988; Knoblauch & Woolfolk Hoy 2008). Teacher self-efficacy is positively associated with teacher behaviour and attitude in the classroom (Bandura, 1997). For example, teachers who strongly believe in their instructional efficacy are more likely to implement innovative strategies for teaching (Guskey, 1988), to devote more time to academic activities, to have high expectation for student learning or to persist with student who encounter difficulties (Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Bandura, 1997). Teacher self-efficacy also appears to be significantly related to student achievement (Armor et al., 1976; Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998; Hoy & Spero, 2005).
Because of the most challenging teaching conditions, we expect that teachers in schools with a majority of students from low socio-economic background are more likely to doubt their abilities, and thus their capabilities to make a lot of progress with the pupils they teach. According to the aforementioned literature, this low level of teacher self-efficacy may weaken pupils’ achievement level. Consequently, the impact of school composition on student achievement cannot be interpreted only as a peer group effect but rather as an element in a causal chain in which teacher self-efficacy plays an important mediating role.
Armor, D., Conroy-Oseguera, P., Cox, M., King, N., McDonnell, L., Pascal, A., Pauly, E., & Zellman, G. (1976). Analysis of the school preferred reading programs in selected Los Angeles minority schools, REPORT NO. R-2007-LAUSD. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 130 243). Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efﬁcacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173e1182. Caprara, G.V., C. Barbaranelli, P. Steca, and P.S. Malone. 2006. Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of job satisfaction and students’ academic achievement: A study at the school level. Journal of School Psychology 44, no. 6: 473-490. Condron, D. J. (2009). Social class, school and non-school environments, and black/white inequalities in children’s learning. American Sociological Review, 74(5), 685–708. De Fraine, B., Van Damme, J., &Onghena, P. (2002).Accountability of Schools and Teachers: What Should Be Taken into Account? European Educational Research Journal, 1(3), 403‑428. Dumay, X., & Dupriez, V. (2008). Does the school composition effect matter? Evidence from Belgian data. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(4), 440‑477. Duru-Bellat, M., Le Bastard-Landrier, S., &Piquée, C. (2004).Tonalité sociale du contexte et expérience scolaire des élèves au lycée et à l’école primaire. Revue française de sociologie, 45(3), 441 468. Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. H. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of educational psychology, 76(4), 569. Guo, Y., S.B. Piasta, L.M. Justice, and J.N. Kaderavek. 2010. Relations among preschool teachers’ self-efficacy, classroom quality and children’s language and literacy gains. Teaching and Teacher Education 26, no. 4: 1094-1103. Guskey, T. R. (1988). Teacher efficacy, self-concept, and attitudes toward the implementation of instructional innovation. Teaching and teacher education, 4(1), 63-69. Hoy, A. W., & Spero, R. B. (2005). Changes in teacher efficacy during the early years of teaching: A comparison of four measures. Teaching and teacher education, 21(4), 343-356. Knoblauch, D., & A. Woolfolk Hoy. 2008. “Maybe I can teach those kids.” The influence of contextual factors on student teachers’ efficacy beliefs. Teaching and Teacher Education 24, no. 1: 166-179. Tschannen-Moran, M., Hoy, A. W., & Hoy, W. K. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure. Review of educational research, 68(2), 202-248. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Hoy, A. W. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and teacher education, 17(7), 783-805.
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