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Oemetse Mogapi
Kagiso Patronella Maule-Sethora


Teacher quality characteristics are used to measure the importance of the teacher to learners’ academic
performance. Studies on this topic have focused on teachers’ educational background, years of teaching
experience and salaries. While it is clear that certain teachers are more effective than others at improving
student achievement, there is considerably less consensus on whether specific, observable teacher
characteristics such as qualification or experience produce higher achievement. This study sought to
explore the value addition of the teachers on learner’s performance scores for reading after controlling
for several characteristics of learners, teachers and schools. In the study, the value added by the teacher
is termed teacher effect and is measured as a random component representing the differences between
the learners’ actual score and the predicted score. This difference is assumed to be attributable to
teacher after controlling for background variables. The study used the data obtained from Progress in
International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of 2011 year cycle. There were 4197 learners matched
to 141 teachers. Data sets also contained the background information of teachers, learners and schools.
The study used the contemporaneous specification of the value added model (VAM). The results of
VAM suggested that the effect of the teacher on students’ scores was attributable to between school and
within school effect. Further analysis suggested that teacher qualities that influence the students’
achievement included level of education, ability to use computer, experience beyond 16 years and the
better teaching strategies.

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