Description: This study examines the relationships among student socioeconomic status, school district enrollment, minority enrollment, district expenditure per pupil, and the teaching experience of faculty as these variables influence the achievement scores of secondary students in Texas. Data from a total of 1,061 Texas school districts were used to determine the effects of the indicated district-level predictor variables on three criterion variables: reading, mathematics, and writing scores for the 11th-grade Texas Education Assessment of Minimum Skills (TEAMS). The study led to the following conclusions: 1. Low socioeconomic status of students in Texas, as in the rest of the United States, insures that test scores will be lower if all other variables are held constant. 2. Large minority populations are strong predictors of low test scores, especially in mathematics and reading. 3. Students in districts whose faculty had a high average of years of teaching experience also scored high in achievement tests, especially in mathematics and writing. 4. High average district expenditure per pupil predicts high test scores, especially in reading. 5. School district size or enrollment has low predictive value of test scores. Among several specific recommendations, this study advises that further study be done concerning the most effective ways to educate minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged student populations. The study also recommends that better ways be found to retain experienced teachers in the classroom, including monetary compensation, extra allowances for staff development, and additional resources. The study cautions against simply adding money to a district's budget to increase student achievement scores, asserting that districts should make thorough studies before higher expenditures per pupil are alone used to increase test scores.
Date: May 1989
Creator: Pickering, Sarah Kelley