School resources and student achievement at Texas /Mexico border elementary schools

Arlene Miriam Sonnen, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The purpose in conducting this study was to investigate relationships between resources and student achievement in elementary schools on the Texas/Mexico border where disproportionate numbers of students are economically disadvantaged and are limited in their English proficiency. In this investigation the focus was on the extent to which schools provided equity of opportunity to learn and the extent to which schools were efficient in using resources to affect student achievement. ^ A causal-comparative analysis was conducted using a modified quadriform analytical technique to determine school efficiency and equity of opportunity to learn. Student achievement was assessed by the percent of Grade 3 and 4 students passing either the English or Spanish versions of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills exam administered in the spring of 1999. One hundred fifty-seven elementary schools in large and very large districts on the Texas/Mexico border were included in the study. ^ The investigation to determine equity of opportunity to learn for students in schools on the Texas/Mexico border yielded a negative correlation between total per pupil expenditures and students identified as economically disadvantaged (large effect size). A negative correlation was present between total per pupil expenditures and students characterized as limited in English proficiency (small effect size). In terms of efficiency, variables that differentiated efficient from inefficient schools included expenditures for teacher salaries, teacher experience, and bilingual instructional programs. All three variables had negative relationships with student achievement. ^ Prior to readers making inappropriate inferences and/or generalizations about these findings, it is important to state that certain limitations in the data set analyzed were discovered. Limitations included: (a) the veracity of the data set because of its self-reported nature; (b) the relatively small available sample size of schools; (c) the aggregate nature of the data which can obscure important evidence; and, (d) cause-effect relationships were not discernible given the statistical proceedings employed. ^ Two implications may be derived from the analysis: (1) The negative correlations between total per pupil expenditures and students identified as economically disadvantaged and/or limited in English proficiency may be interpreted as evidence of a lack of equity of opportunity to learn for students on the Texas/Mexico border. (2) In terms of efficiency, the negative relationships between certain resource expenditures (i.e. to compensate teachers and fund bilingual education programs) and student achievement may be interpreted as resources that may not be key in providing for student success. Given the results of the equity of opportunity findings, reason is present to interpret the efficiency results with extreme caution. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) ^

Subject Area

Education, Finance|Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Sonnen, Arlene Miriam, "School resources and student achievement at Texas /Mexico border elementary schools" (2000). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI9971352.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI9971352

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