Head of the class: exploring the link between teacher quality, instructional practice, and student outcomes in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
In the last several decades, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have made great strides in improving access to education for its student population by dramatically increasing spending and making education a national priority. However, this expansion in quantity and access has not translated into schooling quality, as evidenced by student achievement scores on the 2003 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS). As the most direct link in the delivery of education to students, teachers and their classroom practices have become the target of reform efforts to improve the quality of education in these three countries. This paper seeks to investigate the relationship between teacher quality, instructional practices, and student outcomes. Specifically, which of the teacher characteristics and classroom practices are more strongly correlated with higher test scores, and are there statistically significant differences in these results across countries? To answer these questions, a linear regression model was run using the clustered robust standard errors method, and the results show that the impact of teachers on student achievement is largely unclear. Only three of the instructional practice variables (use of textbooks as the primary basis for lessons, use of computers during math lessons, and use of higher-level math teaching skills) were statistically significant, although there was no significant difference in results between the three countries. These findings suggest that the keys to improving student outcomes are by increasing school resources and reforming instructional practices by incorporating these high level teaching skills into teacher training curriculums and professional development opportunities.
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