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UCR and BankAmerica Show Student Achievement Tied to Teacher Experience

UCR and BankAmerica Show Student Achievement Tied to Teacher Experience

(March 13, 2000)

In the first annual "Report to the Region" made possible by a partnership between the University of California, Riverside and the Bank of America Foundation, researchers connected the dots to show a striking correlation between the credential status of teachers and the academic achievement of their students on the recent API - the Achievement Performance Index.

Robert Calfee, Dean of the School of Education at UCR, joined with other educators, business leaders and legislators in a conference that underlined the need for school districts to make sure their teachers are fully credentialed.

"We can not control whether a child lives in poverty, or whether they have role models for academic achievement in the home," Calfee said. "What we can control is the qualifications of the teachers we hire in our classrooms. This picture makes clear the close relationship between fully credentialed teachers and academic achievement."

The news about the importance of teacher qualifications was just one part of a "Report to the Region" outlining the status of K-12 education in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It was issued Saturday, March 11 at Education Summit 2000, held at the Ontario Airport Marriott by UCR and Bank of America Foundation, in cooperation with local education officials. This conference drew about 100 people, including superintendents, legislators, school board members and others interested in K-12 education for a brainstorming session on education issues critical to the future of the Inland Empire.

Calfee showed graphs documenting that student achievement on the API dipped in direct proportion to the number of teachers in the school working on "emergency" credentials, essentially a district waiver for teachers who do not yet have the appropriate credential for their assignment. The correlation was just as strong as that between low test scores and poverty, and high test scores and high parent education levels, Calfee said.

California's Class size reduction program, which in July 1997 dropped lower elementary grades to 20 students per teacher, has not yet shown marked gains in student achievement for the Inland Empire, Calfee said, citing research done by the California Educational Research Cooperative at UCR. Since the class size reduction program required the hiring of so many new teachers all at once, it actually may have put more inexperienced teachers in direct contact with students, and thus counter balanced most of th e expected benefits of smaller classes.

Despite that, Calfee said, teachers, parents and students continue to report anecdotal evidence that smaller classes are indeed beneficial. And in fact, smaller classes may be encouraging new teachers to enter the profession and stay there, he said, which could help lower high attrition rates. Current estimates cited in the report are that 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within four years.

"The good news is that we may still see a delayed boost in achievement from the class size reduction program as all the newest teachers become more experienced and better trained," Calfee said.

Other speakers at Education Summit 2000 included UCR Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach, Bank of American Southern California President Liam E. McGee, Albert K. Karnig, president of the California State University, San Bernardino, state legislators James Brulte and Nell Soto, economist John Husing, and many others.

The Conference and the Report to the Region were both funded through a $1 million public-private partnership between the Bank of America Foundation and UCR, established to provide Inland Empire public schools with the tools and resources they need to meet Governor Gray Davis' expectations for school reform.

The Bank of America Foundation directs charitable giving on behalf of Bank of America, the largest bank in the United States. The Bank of America Foundation contributes financial assistance to nonprofit institutions and organizations that enhance the qual ity of life and promote public interest in the areas where the company conducts its business

Highlights of the Bank of America Fund include:

€ The Bank of America Leadership Institute will directly link ongoing university research to hands-on applications in local schools. Each year, principals and lead teachers from the region's schools will meet to learn educational practices for improving student academic performance. The goal is to provide access to information that will help educators better serve their students.

€ An annual Bank of America Educational Summit will bring local school district educators and university faculty together to evaluate the current state of education in the Inland region. An annual "Report to the Region" also will be distributed and will provide ongoing feedback to county offices of education and school districts about the academic performance of students, schools and districts.

€ Additionally, the Bank of America Program in Leadership, Policy and Practice will provide an opportunity for a distinguished UC Riverside School of Education faculty member to organize and implement the Bank of America Fund projects.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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