Policy, Poverty, and Student Achievement: An Exploration of the Impact of State Policies

Nicola A. Alexander, Sung Tae Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores the associations between the achievement of economically disadvantaged students and the presence of state policies that include student achievement in teacher evaluations. We looked at student achievement across all 50 states from 2007 through 2013. A simple comparison of states with and without the policy suggested that economically disadvantaged students had similar or slightly lower reading and lower math achievement in those states with the policy than in states without it. Once state context was considered, we found that states that included student achievement in teacher assessment policies had slightly higher reading achievement among economically disadvantaged students than they would have had otherwise. We found no similar impact on math achievement. This policy did not reduce the gaps in achievement between economically disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers. Combined, these findings indicate that including student achievement in teacher assessment models did not eliminate poverty-induced educational disparities in the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-704
Number of pages31
JournalEducational Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • accountability
  • achievement
  • educational policy
  • equity
  • poverty
  • state policies

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