Teacher-Student Congruence and Student Achievement in Segregated Schools
Turley, Ruth N.L.
Master of Arts
Students’ academic achievement is crucial to life opportunities and chances, yet minorities continue to underperform compared to whites in reading and math. One mechanism that makes a difference in student success is teachers, and especially teacher-student relationships. Since research emphasizes that feelings of social belonging positively influence student achievement, some suggest that good teacher-student relationships, potentially cultivated by sharing race (race congruence), may improve students’ achievement. This study uses data on a census of elementary and middle school students (white, Black, and Hispanic) in a large urban school district in Texas from 2009-10 through 2010-11 to investigate the potential benefits of race congruence between teachers and students on a standardized math and reading assessment. This study contributes by focusing on a heavily segregated school district. Using regression modeling to isolate the effects of congruence independent of other student and teacher characteristics, I examine race differences in any effects of congruence. The results indicate little evidence for race congruence benefiting students except for one situation: black students in reading, which may be driven by school racial composition.
congruence; racial composition; segregated schools; race