What Matters for Student Achievement? Exploring Teacher Instructional Practices and the Role of School-Level and Student-Level Characteristics

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica
Aug 27, 2019
Scott Richman, Alicia Demers, and Dmitriy Poznyak
  • Among the 32 teacher instructional practice measures examined in this analysis, aspects of teachers’ general instruction and classroom management, and not reading and writing instruction, had statistically significant associations with student achievement after controlling for other school-level and student-level characteristics.
  • Specifically, fostering student engagement, having students participate in discussion, experiencing fewer class period disruptions, and instilling a classroom climate conducive to instruction each was associated with higher levels of student achievement.
  • The moderation analysis showed that schools’ racial and ethnic diversity, student–teacher ratios, and total number of students influence how teacher instructional practices are associated with student achievement.
The purpose of this exploratory study is to provide evidence on how teaching practices might contribute to student learning in different ways for different groups of students or in different kinds of schools. Two overarching research questions guide the study: (1) What instructional practices used by ELA teachers are related to higher levels of student achievement?; and (2) To what extent are the relationships between teacher instructional practices and student achievement influenced by school-level and student-level characteristics? In this study, we used the data collected from 10,716 students taught by 214 ELA teachers in 63 schools that participated in their first year of the Teacher Potential Project evaluation (during the 2015–2016 or 2016–2017 school years).

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