Student perceptions of teacher characteristics on math achievement for middle school African American students

Otis Clayton, Tennessee State University


This causal-comparative research explored how African American students' perceptions of their math teachers affected their academic performance on the Math Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Test during 2009-2010 academic year. When considering possible measures of teacher effectiveness in K-12 education, it can be argued that student opinions of a teacher are an important consideration in any teacher evaluation system, because students have the most contact with teachers and are the direct consumers of a teacher's service (Goe, Bell, & Little, 2008). Student perception of teacher effectiveness is a reality that is impacting educational reform in the United States through the MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) Project, student achievement in the United States, and certainly staffing in schools that are looking to close the achievement gap between African American students and their Caucasian classmates. The purpose of this study was to investigate the Tripod Survey's seven characteristics of effective teaching (The 7Cs): captivate, consolidate, control, confer, clarify, care, and captivate, and how they were used to narrow the Math achievement gap between middle school African American students and Caucasian students. Additionally, this research study identified some factors that could result in facilitating the narrowing of the Math achievement gap, specifically (a) African American students' perceptions of their teachers and (b) teachers' willingness to cultivate a positive relationship with African American students. The math TCAP scores of 6,426 African American students in 41 middle schools for the 2009-2010 academic year were used in this study. To determine if each characteristic of effective teaching (7Cs) was correlated with Math TCAP achievement, a series of regression analyses were conducted. It was found that math achievement for middle school African American students was positively affected by their perception of their Math teacher, indicating that students who scored higher on the math TCAP had more positive perceptions of their teachers. Many students in this participant sample qualified for either free or reduced lunch; however, no effect on perceptions of teacher effectiveness was found. When controlling for socioeconomic status, students who perceived teachers as highly effective also demonstrated high math proficiency.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|African American Studies|Black studies|Middle School education

Recommended Citation

Otis Clayton, "Student perceptions of teacher characteristics on math achievement for middle school African American students" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3568995.