The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between high school students' curricular positions, their perceptions of the quality of their teachers, and school…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between high school students' curricular positions, their perceptions of the quality of their teachers, and school academic process variables on students' growth rates and ending achievement in mathematics and science.
Multilevel latent curve modeling is used to examine students' growth trajectories using the National Longitudinal Educational Study data.
Within schools, both student curricular positions and perceptions of teacher quality affect growth and achievement. More positive student perceptions of their teachers ascending across course profiles are found. The effects of perceived teacher quality on growth rates and ending achievement, however, are more consequential for students in weaker academic profiles than in stronger profiles. Between schools, academic process variables also influence outcomes. For example, individuals in schools where students collectively pursue more math and science have significantly higher growth rates than individuals in schools where lower percentages of students take these courses.
The paper's measures of teacher quality and curricular differentiation only serve as proxy measures for more thorough information that can be collected about within‐school teacher and curricular processes.
The results imply that efforts to increase student achievement will have to attack individual (e.g. poverty; early educational experiences; and course taking) and organizational (i.e. school structural redesign, curricular, and instructional processes) fronts simultaneously.
This paper extends the discussion of how internal curricular differentiation and student perceptions about teacher quality may intersect to influence student growth trajectories within and between schools.