09 SES 04 A, Characteristics and Development of Teacher Competence and Training
Achievement differences across schools have increased in Sweden during the past two decades, at the same time as average achievement levels have declined, for example in mathematics (Holmlund et al., 2014; SOU 2014:05) and reading (Skolverket, 2013). These negative trends may be related to schools’ demographic, organizational and resource prerequisites. The organizational basis for the Swedish compulsory school has undergone significant changes since the late 1980s, with free school choice, an increasing number of private schools and a larger autonomy for school leaders. The increased school segregation with respect to migration background since the implementation of these reforms (Yang Hansen & Gustafsson, 2016), could possibly be caused by the continuing decline in inclusion of migrant students and a related educational inequality in instructional quality and teacher competence. Inclusion is defined as a structure of organizing integration according to particular rules and regulations.
The results of research on effects of teacher competence are, however, somewhat fragmented and unclear, at least with respect to effects on different student groups. This can partly be explained by uncertainties in the determination of crucial teacher characteristics. Making comparisons between for example authorized and unauthorized teachers has been shown to be problematic. There is vast research in this field which is characterized by severe methodological problems, e.g. with respect to drawing causal conclusions from cross-sectional observational data. For example, no correlation between student achievement and various resource factors has been found in some studies (e.g. Hanushek, 1997), whereas others found a positive correlation (e.g. Greenwald, Hedges & Laine, 1996).
A teacher effect on student achievement is, however, well manifested (e.g., Gustafsson, 2003; Gustafsson & Myrberg, 2002; Johansson, Myrberg, & Rosén, 2015; Nye, Konstantopoulus, & Hedges, 2004; Rockoff, 2004), and the results also suggest that lower achieving students, as for example immigrants, are the more likely to benefit from increases in teacher effectiveness (e.g., Sanders, 1998). Teacher quality is, furthermore, one of the resource factors that explains most of the increase in performance differences between schools in Sweden (Björklund, Fredriksson, Gustafsson, & Öckert, 2010, Ch 7; Gustafsson & Myrberg, 2002). The general reduction in teacher quality in Sweden the last decades (SOU 2014:05), and the decreased equality of allocation of teacher competence between schools (Hansson & Gustafsson, 2016; OECD, 2013), supports these results. However, the variation between student outcomes that different teachers are achieving (Hanushek, 2003) needs to be further problematized and discussed. Teacher knowledge and skills, teacher training and teaching experience are examples of characteristics highlighted in different meta-studies (e.g., Greenwald, Hedges & Laine, 1996), that should be subject of such an investigation.
This study intends to develop a precise and differentiated description of teacher quality for use in future analyses of relations between teacher competence and educational results, with focus on interactions with student composition of schools due to students’ socio-economic and migration backgrounds. The description is among other factors focusing on teacher’s basic knowledge, subject-related and pedagogical training, and type of teacher training program. One aim is to investigate the variation over time in access to qualified teachers and the variation in teacher qualifications between schools. In further analyses, the significance of the teacher characteristics for literacy and mathematics in grades 1 to 6 will be focused.
Overall, the project, which this study is a part of, is expected to generate insights about essential conditions for effective and equitable teaching in Swedish and mathematics in primary school, and about distributions of teacher competence across schools with different student composition.
Variables This study uses data from the Teacher registry provided by Statistics Sweden. In this data, all teachers enrolled in compulsory schooling between 1994 and 2011 are included, which makes our study an investigation of the complete population of teachers. The data includes information on many characteristics of teachers’ education, such as teachers’ educational level, certification status, and experience. Moreover, a unique component of the registry data is that it is stored with a personal identification number, which facilitates a link between the teacher registry and the national database GOLD (Gothenburg Educational Longitudinal Database), which includes all individuals in Sweden born 1972 – 1988. In GOLD, we have ample information on teachers that comprise, for example, their school-marks and national test results, but also information on their further training in higher education. Data was collected once per year. Furthermore, we used measures to highlight differences which pertain to teacher characteristics across schools. One is information about the school type (independent vs public). We also have information about students’ foreign background, that is, whether the students at the school are qualified for mother tongue tuition or not. Data on the proportion of students qualified for mother tongue tuition could be associated with each and every teacher. Procedure and analytical methods The available data enables a categorization based on the relevance of the teacher training for the position the teacher holds. Therefore, in a first step, we develop matching variables between teachers’ academic subject knowledge (content knowledge) and teaching skills (pedagogical content knowledge) and the grade and subject the teacher actually work in. In a second step this matching variable, certification status, length of teachers’ education, teaching experience and school grades for teachers born between 1972 and 1988 are investigated in a trend perspective. In addition, we explore differences in the distribution of these teacher competence measures for public-independent schools and among schools with differing student intake. The current study relies on bivariate statistics mainly using cross tabulations and comparing means in a trend perspective.
Preliminary analyzes show marked decreases in a number of teacher competence indicators over the time period of 1994 to 2012. The matching variable show striking differences between teachers who work in high vs low SES schools. Teachers in high SES schools have generally higher match between their education and the position they hold. However, the match decreases over time and this is a general trend concerning low as well as high SES schools. As regards the length of teachers’ education results show a somewhat shorter education for teacher working in low SES schools. Further analyses will take into account the type of teacher training program (more recent programs are generally longer). Certification status has also changed over time in Sweden. In recent years a lower share of teachers are fully certified. Uncertified teachers are over-represented in independent schools and in low-SES schools. Teaching experience is in general high. There are only minor differences in schools with different student intake. However, in public schools, teachers are more experienced than in independent schools (15 vs 11 years on average). The teachers average school grades have decreased dramatically over the time-period 1996 to 2016. A reasonable interpretation for this linear decrease is that the recruitment patterns to the teacher education have undergone changes the past two decades. In low-SES schools the decrease may be even more pronounced. Further analyses will explore this in greater detail. The picture that emerges from these preliminary analyses shows a trend towards a less qualified teacher force. In spite of the compensatory mission Swedish school have it is demonstrated that the schools in need of the most competent teachers tend to garner those with limited qualifications and competence. Overall, this is a threat to an equivalent school, and an impediment to effective inclusion.
Björklund, A., Fredriksson, P., Gustafsson, J. E., & Öckert, B. (2010). Den svenska utbildningspolitikens arbetsmarknadseffekter: Vad säger forskningen? . Uppsala: IFAU.Bonesrønning, H., Falch, T., & Strøm, B. (2005). Teacher sorting, teacher quality, and student composition. European Economic Review. vol. 49. Greenwald, R., Hedges, L. V., & Laine, R. D. (1996). The effect of school resources on student achievement. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 361-396. Gustafsson, J.-E. (2003). What do we know about effects of school resources on educational results? Swedish Economic Policy Review, 10(2), 77-110. Gustafsson, J.-E., & Myrberg, E. (2002). Ekonomiska resursers betydelse för pedagogiska resultat – en kunskapsöversikt. Stockholm: Skolverket. Hansson, Å., & Gustafsson, J. E. (2016). Pedagogisk segregation: Lärarkompetens i den svenska grundskolan ur ett likvärdighetsperspektiv. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige 21(1-2), 56-78. Hanushek, E. A. (1997). Assessing the effects of school resources on student performancHanushek, E. A. (1997). Assessing the effects of school resources on student performance: An update. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 19 (2), 141-164. Hanushek, E. A. (2003). The failure of input-based schooling policies. Economic Journal, 113, 64–98. Holmlund, H., Häggblom, J., Lindahl, E., Martinson, S., Sjögren, A., Vikman, U., et al. (2014). Decentralisering, skolval och fristående skolor: Resultat och likvärdighet i svensk skola, Rapport 2014:25. Uppsala: IFAU Institut För Arbetsmarknadspolitiska Utvärderingar. Johansson, S., Myrberg, E., & Rosén, M. (2015). Formal Teacher Competence and its Effect on Pupil Reading Achievement. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 59(5), 564-582. doi:10.1080/00313831.2014.965787 Nye, B., Konstantopoulus, S., & Hedges, L. V. (2004.). How large are teacher effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26, 237–257. OECD. (2013). PISA 2012 Results: Excellence through equity: Giving every student the chance to succeed (Volume II): PISA, OECD Publishing http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264201132-en. Rockoff, J. (2004). The impact of individual teachers on student achievement: Evidence from panel data. The American Economic Review, 94(2), 247–252. Sanders, W. L. (1998). Value-added assessment. The School Administrator, 55(11), 24-32. Skolverket. (2013). PISA 2012: 15-åringars kunskaper i matematik, läsförståelse och naturvetenskap. Skolverkets rapport 398. SOU 2014:05. Staten får inte abdikera: Om kommunaliseringen av den svenska skolan. Betänkande av Utredningen om skolans kommunalisering. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet. Yang Hansen, K., & Gustafsson, J. E. (2016). Causes of educational segregation in Sweden: School choice or residential segregation. Eduactional Research and Evaluation, 22(1–2), 23–44.
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