The Effects of Student and Teacher Ethnicity, Sex, and Teacher Experience on Achievement
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There are multiple aspects of a learner’s experience, including instructional and environmental factors, which may affect achievement. Students may be more comfortable with whom they relate and share common experiences (Haberman & Post, 1998; Heath, 1971; Marx, 2008). But does this mean students learn best from teachers who look like them? This quantitative study, utilizing an ex post facto causal comparative analysis, investigated the effects of student and teacher ethnicity. All data was archival, consisting of 3,104 students in grade 10 and 139 teachers. Additional quantitative variables found in the data were also explored, including the effect of the sex of the student and teacher and the effect of teacher experience. Ethnicity, as well as sex, were found to have little impact. However, the data indicate teacher experience may have a greater impact on student achievement than either ethnicity or sex. Students whose teachers had 10 to 14 years’ experience demonstrated higher achievement in Mathematics. Further, students whose teachers had zero to four years’ experience outperformed their peers in Reading. Although the effect size was small, the data indicate students whose teacher had zero to four years of experience outperformed their peers respectively.