Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Duan Zhang, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth

Third Advisor

Susan Korach


Case study, Instructional practices, Structural equation modeling, Student achievement, Teacher attitudes, Teacher background characteristics


Education policy has focused on teacher quality and student achievement since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, which defined teacher quality in terms of teachers' professional qualifications and certification. This is consistent with a history of econometric studies examining the effects of teacher background characteristics on student achievement. More recently, researchers have argued that investigations of teacher effectiveness should examine what actually happens in the classroom, and that teacher attitudes and instructional practices are conspicuously missing from the prior research.

This study uses a two-phase parallel mixed methods design to explore teacher perceptions of the influence of their background characteristics, attitudes, and instructional practices on student achievement. The first phase is a quantitative analysis using structural equation modeling and data from the Early-Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) to examine the relative effects of teacher background characteristics, attitudes, and instructional practices on student achievement. The second phase is a case study of an innovative elementary school meeting State expectations for student growth.

The results of the quantitative analysis revealed that teacher attitudes typically have a significant effect on student achievement, but teacher background characteristics and perceptions related to their instructional practices do not. The teachers in the case study agreed that teacher attitudes are important and are likely to have an effect on students, as well as on other teachers. However, the teachers in the case study also perceived that a number of instructional practices are crucial to increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Deborah Isabell Faust


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

278 p.