A recent meta-analysis in Educational Research Review identified 21 studies to be used in an analysis of the relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement. In defining teacher leadership for this analysis, the authors indicate that teachers who demonstrate leadership maintain their normal classroom responsibilities while also assuming leadership responsibilities beyond the classroom. Among the studies analyzed, five demonstrated what the researchers classify as a desired effect (r > .20) and eight demonstrated what the researchers classify as a meaningful teacher effect (.10 < r < .20). The researchers used a random-effects model for the meta-analysis, which indicates an overall meaningful teacher effect (r = 0.187, 95% CI = [0.127, 0.246]) when analyzing the relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement. This provides evidence that teacher leadership is positively related to student performance (p < 0.001).
The authors then further investigate this relationship by looking at differences between courses and specific elements of teacher leadership. Of the studies used for the analysis, 11 analyzed student reading achievement and 10 analyzed student math achievement. The results showed that:
- Teacher leadership demonstrates a stronger relationship with math achievement (r = 0.24) than with reading (r = 0.18), but both analyses provide evidence of a significant relationship.
- When analyzing seven specific aspects of teacher leadership, the researchers find that having teachers involved with curriculum, instruction, and assessment decisions demonstrates the strongest relationship with student achievement (r = 0.21).
- The six other elements of teacher leadership each produced effect sizes between r = 0.15 and r = 0.19.
While the authors acknowledge multiple limitations with the current meta-analysis, such as small sample sizes and the inability to determine causality, they suggest that providing empirical evidence of the positive relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement helps to fill a gap in the teacher leadership literature.
Source: Shen, J., Wu, H., Reeves, P., Zheng, Y., Ryan, L., & Anderson, D. (2020). The association between teacher leadership and student achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 31, 100357.