Evaluating school-level and student-level effects on student achievement
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This dissertation is grounded in the empirical and theoretical literature on student achievement. Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), this dissertation sought to contribute to a better understanding of what factors explain the educational outcomes in an education production function. This dissertation aims to examine the relationship between educational expenditure and student achievement, accounting for student, school, and family characteristics. Another aim of this dissertation is to take a close look at students and their educational behaviors in relation to achievement. This research model brings empirical evidence to test the effects of student motivation and attitudes toward learning. Findings indicate that student socioeconomic status and expectation and attitude about learning are the three strongest factors positively related to student achievement. These effects are significant on both the student and the school levels. Comparatively, school resource, teacher quality, and school poverty variables do not show significant impact on learning outcomes. An important finding derived from hierarchical linear modeling is that low performing students may benefit greatly when they are in schools where expectation and attitude about learning are high. These effects are typically strong for Black and Hispanic students.