Kisida identifies new evidence of teacher match benefits

Brian Kisida

Many educators, scholars, and policymakers acknowledge the demographic disparities between public school students and their teachers: Teachers are overwhelmingly female and White despite a student population that is evenly split between males and females and increasingly racial and ethnically diverse. At the same time, growing evidence demonstrates that students benefit when there is a “teacher match”—that is, when teachers and students are demographically similar.

While prior research has examined match effects on student achievement and teachers’ perceptions of students, new research from Dr. Brian Kisida, assistant research professor of economics and public affairs, along with co-author Dr. Anna Egalite from North Carolina State University, investigates match effects on students’ perceptions of their teachers and of their own academic engagement.

Using survey data from more than 80,000 students across six U.S. school districts, the researchers found that, compared to unmatched students in the same classroom, students who share gender and/or racial characteristics with their teachers feel more cared for by their teachers, are more interested in their classwork and enjoy it more, and rate higher the quality of communication with and guidance from their teachers. They also report putting forth more personal effort and have higher college aspirations.

Results provide additional evidence of the potential benefits of recruitment and retention policies aimed at diversifying the teacher labor force, the researchers say. Additionally, they suggest the findings can inform the design of teacher professional development programs focused on culturally-responsive teaching.

Learn more in the article, “The effects of teacher match on students’ academic perceptions and attitudes,” by Anna J. Egalite and Brian Kisida, first published online in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (June 2017).

Education Week, a U.S. national newspaper covering K–12 education, recently featured the study on its Teacher Beat Blog.