Student-Teacher Relations and Academic Achievement in High School
MAVIS G. SANDERS WILL J. JORDAN, Johns Hopkins University
This chapter examines the relationship between students' perceptions of teacher- student relations and their academic achievement. Using panel data drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988, the authors explore the degree to which teacher-student relations, measured as teacher expectations and teacher supportiveness at grades 10 and 12, influence 12th-grade students' educational investments and academic achievement. Multiple regression is used first to model the effects of students' perceptions of their relationships with teachers as predictors of their investment behaviors, and then to analyze the concurrent effects of teacher- student relations and student investments on academic achievement. Research on teacher-student interaction provides the conceptual framework guiding this study. The authors find consistent evidence that teacher-student relations have a positive and significant influence on adolescents' educational investments, measured as school conduct, classroom preparation, and avoidance of maladaptive behaviors. The authors also find that positive teacher-student relations and prosocial investment behaviors among students enhance academic achievement, measured as both standardized test scores and grade point averages. The regression results remain constant when controlling on background characteristics of students such as their race/ethnicity, gender, prior learning, and socioeconomic status, as well as contextual factors such as school sector and academic track. Implications for research and practice are discussed.