Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Michael Gilbert

Third Advisor

Erin O'Brien


This quasi-experimental value-added study provided evidence for the predictive validity of the Massachusetts MTEL General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest by finding an association between the licensure test results of 130 teachers and the growth of their 2640 grade 4 and 5 students. The study took advantage of a natural experiment that arose due to a policy change made by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE) in response to the initial administration of a new highly rigorous math-specific licensure subtest for elementary and special education teachers in March, 2008. The emergency amendment allowed test takers to conditionally pass the licensure test based upon a lower, temporary cut score, therefore providing a comparison group of teachers who received conditional licensure without fully passing the licensure test. The study sample used a cross-sectional data set acquired from MADESE for the 2010-11 school year, the first year for which data was available that linked individual teachers to their students. The dependent variable of students' mathematics Student Growth Percentile (SGP) score on the statewide test, the MCAS, incorporated prior achievement and was calculated by comparing each student to his or her academic peers. OLS regression analyses including student background variables, classroom variables, and teacher characteristic variables showed that teacher results on the MTEL math test were positively associated with student math SGP scores. The strength of the association found in this study was substantial relative to the research literature and comparable in magnitude with established factors such as student low-income status. The predictive power of the MTEL math test was strongest at the lower range of test scores, suggesting that policymakers should consider lowering the permanent cut score to the level set by the emergency amendment in order to avoid screening effective teachers out of the workforce and potentially decreasing student achievement.