Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
International Family and Community Studies
Dominican students have the lowest performance scores in science, math, and reading comprehension compared to students across the region, according to national (Minerd, 2018) and International evaluations (TERCE, 2014). While many factors are linked to these results, teacher performance is considered an essential element (OECD, 2015) that needs to be addressed.
Project USAID READ is an initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE). The Project's purpose is to improve the reading and writing skills of Primary Level students, by supporting the implementation of the curriculum and promoting appropriate learning environments. Training and mentoring teachers in their classroom practices are at the core of the actions implemented by the activity. This study consisted in a secondary data analysis of the results from the national evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Education, so no IRB approval was required. The purpose of the evaluation was to evaluate teacher practices and student reading comprehension in sixth grade to identify what elements of the teacher practice impact students' results, considering two groups, an experimental group with schools belonging to project USAID READ and a comparison group that didn’t receive the intervention. For the analisys the database used was requested to the MoE from the National 6thgrade evaluation held in 2018.
After receiving the database, it required cleaning and organizing the data before performing the analyses. A total of 105 schools where chosen and coded (experimental or comparison); a total of 14,175 students fom the 6th grade where included. After selecting and coding the schools. The second step was to determine which variables from the questionnaires would be considered for the analysis. From the student database the analyses considered: school (intervention or comparison group), and results in language arts. From the teachers' database the analyses considered: teacher content area (only language arts teachers were included, annex B: questions 31-40), school (intervention or comparison group), and responses for variables of interest, which where: teaching strategies, activities, use of resources, and evaluation strategies. Each question was likert-type with 15 options from where teachers could choose on a scale 1-5. Variables were considered as dimensions and an average of the teachers' responses in each case was used for the analysis.
Since there was a higher number of students than teachers, meaning that one teacher had many students, the average score of students in the school was assigned to each teacher (all teachers from a school had the same average). When comparing average scores from USAID-READ teachers vs. teachers from the comparison group, results for questions one to three, showed no statistically significant differences in any of the considered dimensions. For that matter, hypothesis one to three where not confirmed by these results. This could be explained, by the questionnaire not been designed considering categories but ITEMS, a list of actions (teaching strategies, activities and resources) with no specific criteria for their proposal. The T-test for each ITEM within the dimension did show some significant difference between groups in each case, but again it was minimum as the analyses showed.
For question four, regarding evaluation strategies, the difference between the groups was statistically significant, with USAID-READ teachers outperforming teachers from the comparison group. Hypothesis for this question was confirmed by the results from the analysis. This can be interpreted as teachers from the project being more aware of the importance of evaluating students, considering this as a process to inform students' performance and decision-making rather than just reporting a grade at the end of a term. Questions five to eight looked to identify how each variable could predict reading comprehension scores according to the reading comprehension model when controlling for schools belonging to Project USAID-READ. Questions five to eight hypotheses were confirmed since all the analyses, showed ¨group¨ as a high predictor of reading comprehension scores in students.
Results from this dissertation show that: Project USAID-Read strategy had an impact on teacher performance, therefore evaluating and scaling the projects proposal should be considered for Ministry of Education future actions; Information gathered in the National Evaluations can and should be used for different purposes. This requires a careful design and application of the instruments used. Is not enough to know how students or teachers are doing if is not possible to identify the factors that contribute to said results and can be related to curriculum implementation based on scientific data. Finally, the need to revise the Dominican Curriculum is evident, to include proposals with scientific support and a latent model that provides a list measurable items that facilitate implementation and evaluation.
Veras, Cledenin, "Teacher Training and Mentoring: The Relationship Between Classroom Practices and Student Outcomes" (2022). All Dissertations. 2976.
Author ORCID Identifier