Student achievement in Saudi Arabia: the importance of teacher factors
Over the past decade, the government of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly acknowledged its need to develop its human capital by revamping its educational system. Integrating educational reform as a key component in its economic development plans, Saudi Arabia has boosted enrollment rates for both males and females and invested heavily in school infrastructure. Despite, positive enrollment results, schools continue to produce less than capable graduates, adding to the ranks of unemployed Saudis. The lack of qualitative or quantitative studies completed on the Saudi educational system has left few sources available for education policy analysts to turn to for data. However, in 2003 Saudi Arabia participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and results indicate that Saudi 8th graders scored among the lowest of all 43 participating countries sampled in math and sciences. This study analyzes how teacher factors affect student performance in Saudi Arabia. It was found that the factors that influence student achievement in the US had little explanatory power in Saudi Arabia. However, high expectations of student achievement have a significant positive impact on student achievement, controlling for student and teacher background characteristics. Therefore, stressing the importance of mathematics during teacher training should be in important part of education policy reform in Saudi Arabia.
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