Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
David Ansong, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Emmanuel Owusu Amoako, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Jamal Appiah-Kubi, M.Phil, Doctoral Candidate, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey
Moses Okumu, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Background: Current empirical evidence is clear on the role of teacher support in boosting student academic success. As a result, investing in teachers is an integral part of promoting quality education. However, less is known about how teacher support influences students' progress throughout a particular academic term (formative assessment) before final high-stakes examinations (summative assessment), especially in low-resource countries. Because summative assessments such as end-of-term examinations are generally high stakes, they often receive more empirical and policy attention in the discourse around academic performance. Yet, the continuous assessment/formative assessment performance is a precursor to the final examination and thus can be a strong indicator of academic challenges before the high-stakes summative examinations. Grounded in social support theory indicating that emotional and instructional support affect student outcomes, this study examines teachers’ (1) direct influence on student academic progress in English and Mathematics throughout the academic term at the primary school level, and (2) indirect influence on academic progress through the triggering of positive homework behavior.
Methods: This study analyzes data from a 2014 research initiative in Ghana to determine the economic, social, and environmental factors that influence learning outcomes among low-income middle schoolers (n=135). We utilized Mplus 7 to conduct path analysis to examine the direct association between teacher support and student short-term academic progress and indirect association through the mediating role of student homework behavior. Short-term academic progress is measured by students' continuous assessment scores, focusing on homework and other class-related tasks. Given the ordinal-level and nonnormal data utilized, we used the means and variance adjusted weighted least squares (WLSMV) estimation method.
Findings: The majority of the sample (55%) were girls, and the average age was 16 years (SD=1.81). Results of the path modeling show that teacher support has direct predictive influence on student progress in an academic term (βmath = .494, SE = .103, p < .001; βEnglish = .533, SE = .100, p < .001). Teacher support also indirectly affects student academic progress through the intervening role of student homework behavior (Sobel indirect effect: β = .146, SE = .041, p < .001).
Conclusions/Implications: Teacher support is central to instilling positive homework behaviors among students, ultimately ensuring students' academic progress in Mathematics and English. Our findings demonstrate the need to equip teachers to foster positive homework behaviors. The findings could also have implications on how teachers are trained to provide students with both emotional and instructional support that positively impact their school-related behavior and academic success.