Teacher Gender and Student Achievement

What is the importance of the teacher’s gender to students’ academic achievement in sixth grade? Do students gain when taught by a teacher of their own gender? – Yes, particular boys do.

Time period:

2015 - ongoing. 

Target group:

Middle school.

Number of participants:

3.063 students in 6th grade in the school year 2012/13.     

Intervention:

This project investigates the relationship between teacher gender and student achievement in 6th grade (age 12). The study involves students from 310 classrooms, some taught by males and others by females.

Research:

The study exploits Danish register data combined with teacher surveys from the Danish Co-teacher Experiment (insert link).

The gender of the teacher is not randomized, but the data reveals variation in teacher gender that allows us to use a within-student across subjects strategy. Briefly described, we compare the achievement of the same student in two different subjects taught by teachers of a different gender. This method controls for non-random sorting of students and teachers to schools. This method also controls for the student’s average ability and motivation for learning, as well as parental background and classmates.

The survey collection contributes with information about the teachers’ gender, subjects, and teaching strategies, in order to describe potential gender differences and to understand the results. In total, 736 teachers responded on the surveys.

Results:

The results show that boys attain significantly higher academic achievement when taught by a male teacher compared to a female teacher. The magnitude of the effect is about half of the gender gap in reading.    

Project group

Publications

Beuchert, L. V. (2016) Teacher gender and student achievement: The role of males in sixth grade. Aarhus University: Unpublised working paper. Submitted – not public available. Expected spring 2017.