Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. David Bangs


The purpose of this dissertation was to determine the effects of teacher degree and teacher experience on student achievement in literacy for Grades 3-6. School leaders are under pressure from state and national legislation to improve student achievement continuously. At the times hiring and teaching assignment decisions are made, often there is little verifiable data available about individual teacher applicants. Throughout most of the history of public education, teacher degree and teacher experience have been thought to have an impact on school quality and student achievement, so much so that nearly all teacher pay models are based on those two characteristics. Through. this study I examined the effects of teacher experience, defined as 3 or less years of experience or 4 or more years of experience, and teacher degree, defined as bachelor’s degree or master’s degree or higher on literacy achievement measured by the literacy portion of the ACTAAP exam in Arkansas. There were no significant interaction effects between the t2 independent variables for the 4 hypotheses. Similarly, the main effect for teacher experience on student achievement was also not significant for all grade levels. However, regarding teacher degree, 2 main effect hypotheses were significant in Grades 4 and 6. vi One interesting finding was that in these grades, students of teachers with bachelor’s degrees outperformed students of teachers with master’s degrees, with small effect sizes. For the other 2 grade levels (third and fifth), no significant effect was found. More research is needed with regard to student achievement at other grade levels, other subject areas, and as measured by other assessments. However, implications of this study indicate that colleges of education should consider why studies have revealed that students of teachers with master’s or higher degrees do not outperform students of teachers with bachelor's degrees. In addition, administrators should determine the weight placed on characteristics such as teacher degree and teacher experience in the process of hiring, assigning, and paying new teachers to their districts.

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