Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

David E. Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

David Daves

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

Rose McNeese

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

J.T. Johnson

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if teacher qualifications, experience, instructional methods, and professional development influenced student achievement on the Mississippi Writing Assessment in grades four and seven. The study was conducted in the three coastal counties of southern Mississippi. Participants were fourth or seventh grade teachers who taught in one of the eight school districts that were included in the study.

Participants were asked to provide information regarding their qualifications, amount of classroom experience, preferred instructional methods, and feelings on professional development. Also requested from each teacher was his/her classroom average on the Mississippi Writing Assessment from the 2010–2011 school year. This information from each teacher was analyzed to determine which, if any, of the factors had any impact on classroom averages.

The researcher looked closely at the descriptive statistics, frequencies, correlation tables, regressions and their relationship(s) with classroom averages. An ANOVA was used to determine if the level of degree, type of certification and/or number of Language Arts hours impacted classroom averages on the writing assessment. Results of this study indicate that alternate route teachers had lower averages, and teachers who had a higher number of Language Arts semester hours had higher classroom averages. The Pearson Correlation indicated that teacher experience was not strongly correlated with classroom averages. Although instructional methods and implementation of professional development were not strongly correlated to classroom averages, they are significant predictor variables.

These results could be beneficial to school districts and administrators when selecting and placing teachers, especially those who hold alternate route certification. Administrators could take note of teachers with higher averages and carefully observe instructional methods practiced daily, encouraging others to use methods considered to be effective. Administrators could also use these results when making decisions regarding professional development for writing instruction.