The effects of Tennessee teacher licensure test scores and teacher level of education on student achievement levels

Michael D. Pugh, Tennessee State University


This study examined the Tennessee Department of Education database of teacher licensure scores for evidence of a predictive relationship between licensure test scores, gender, experience, teacher education level and student levels of achievement. A review of current literature revealed that teachers? communication skills and levels of general and professional knowledge were predictors of student achievement. A slight gender difference on elementary-level Praxis certification tests in favor of female test-takers has been documented. Studies of the effect of advanced degrees and experience on student achievement produced conflicting results due to a lack of large, robust databases. The study participants consisted of Tennessee teachers with certification test scores stored in the TN Dept. of Education database in March 2005. These were anonymous participants because the data was stripped of all personal information. The full set of 232,444 entries included seven different teacher tests. These were disaggregated and examined using Pearson's Correlation and t-tests. Other participants included selected teachers' students whose End of Course Test data was acquired from the 2005 TN State Report Card. A significant relationship was found between teachers' level of education and certification scores, but the effect level was weak: around one percent. Current Tennessee teacher certification tests neither indicate nor respond to changes in undergraduate educational level or terminal degree. A three-point gender difference in favor of female elementary teachers was detected in Praxis II K-6 PLT test scores. Due to a lack of one-to-one correspondence between teacher test scores and teachers' students' achievement levels, no statistically significant conclusions about student achievement could be reached. The study concluded by recommending that state and federal educational institutions discontinue their use of Praxis II scores as a proxy for teacher quality. It also recommended that more research be conducted to identify the source of the gender difference among elementary PLT test components. Further research on the relationship between teacher licensure scores and student achievement levels was encouraged.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|School administration|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Michael D. Pugh, "The effects of Tennessee teacher licensure test scores and teacher level of education on student achievement levels" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3309291.