WP07/2009

The impact of teacher characteristics on student performance: An analysis using hierarchical linear modelling

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP07/2009

Author(s): Paula Armstrong

JEL Classification: I21

Keywords: Analysis of education

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Abstract:

More than a decade after South Africa’s transition from apartheid, the racially delineated picture of education in the country remains. Brahm Fleisch (2008) refers to the South Africa’s education system as consisting effectively of two education systems: the well-performing historically white system, and the weak-performing historically black system. Significant difference in educational quality exist between these two systems. It is widely acknowledged that the role of teachers in the quality of education is vital. This paper makes use of Hierarchical Linear Modeling to investigate which teacher productive characteristics impact first of all on average student performance, and secondly, on the relationship between the socioeconomic status of students and the performance. It is found that teachers who have specialized in the subject which they teach or in the education of that subject at university, as well as teachers with between 26 and 30 years of teaching experience influence student performance positively. No teacher productive characteristics are found to weaken the relationship between students’ socioeconomic status and their performance.