Year of Publication

2011

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Few would argue the importance of providing today‟s youth with a solid educational foundation, yet the United States ranks as low as 25th educationally among 34 OECD developed nations1 . Many researchers have studied the various factors affecting student performance in the K-12 educational system, but mixed, ambiguous, or conflicting results have led to a general sense of uncertainty regarding who to hold accountable. The research has tended to focus on teacher effectiveness or school funding. While those are among a wealth of valid inputs to examine, this study attempted to determine the viability of examining the effect of teacher training programs on student achievement.

This study utilized data spanning eight years, from 2001-2008, and representing every public kindergarten through 12th grade school in Kentucky. The data were analyzed using two approaches: fixed-effects estimation and between-effects estimation. The findings indicated that there is a relationship between teacher training program and school achievement but that the relationship varies depending on the program and on the specific research question being investigated. Overall, the findings suggested that this exploratory research has potential to inform such decision as how to best train teachers and whether to hold their training programs accountable for the performance of their students. Further analysis on the student level (rather than the school level) is recommended in order to better determine the efficacy of this research approach before expanding the investigation to a statewide or national level. Future investigations into this relationship could be improved with the addition of a broader range of individual student and teacher characteristics.

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