Getting real: a different perspective on the relationship between school resources and student outcomes

Most research on the association between school resources and student outcomes has concentrated on finances as measured in dollars. This study takes a fresh look at the issue by focusing on the allocation of real resources, defined as the personnel and materiel used to increase student learning, which are more relevant measures of a school's instructional conditions. Our findings indicate that prediction models that combine real resource and environmental variables forecast as much as two thirds of the variation in student outcome data, as measured by achievement gain scores and college aspiration rates. The ability to predict the college aspirations of high school students after including real resources improves by 14 percent, suggesting practical and statistical significance. Although socioeconomic status remains the greatest predictor of college aspirations, resource quality as measured by the percentage of faculty with master's and doctoral degrees is not far behind. These findings should lead to a reevaluation of school district human resource practices with regard to recruiting and hiring, professional development, personnel evaluation, and employee compensation, with important implications for student data collection and school funding litigation. We expect the findings to inform school-level decision making and accountability for principals, superintendents, local boards of education, and state policymakers. [ERIC]

Huerta, Luis A.
Richards, Craig
Greene, G. Kennedy
p. 49-68
Americas and the Caribbean
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Educational finance
Studies of achievement

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