The impacts of student-level and school-level factors on students’ reading achievement: Application of hierarchical linear modeling

The impacts of student-level and school-level factors on students’ reading achievement: Application of hierarchical linear modeling

First Author: QIAN WANG -- Middle Tennessee State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jwa K. Kim; Eric L. Oslund; Amy M. Elleman; Ying Jin
Keywords: Reading achievement, Student-level factors, School-level factors, Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM)
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Reading achievement of students is one of the most significant predictors of their academic performance and competitiveness in society. Researchers have been investigating the reading achievement related factors for decades from different aspects. This study aims to examine relevant factors that are associated with reading achievement from both student and school levels.
Method: A large-scale dataset with 3,001 fourth-grade students from 133 elementary schools in the United States was drawn from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 international database. Considering the nested structure of the dataset, a two-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was employed to identify significant factors at both student- and school-levels for predicting reading achievement simultaneously. The student-level factors included English language proficiency, reading motivation, and home resources. The school-level factors included school SES, teacher’s characteristics, school literacy readiness, and grade-level reading proficiency.
Results: The results showed that the intraclass correlation (ICC) was .24 and the design effect was 6.33, which indicated that 24% of the variance in the reading achievement scores of the fourth-grade students was due to the between-school variance. In addition, the results confirmed that higher English language proficiency, reading motivation, home resources at student level and higher school SES, teacher’s characteristics, school literacy readiness, and grade-level reading proficiency at school level yielded higher reading achievement. While home resource was maximally related to reading achievement, the teacher's characteristics impact was minimal.
Conclusions: The associations between factors and reading achievement varied not only within students but also across different schools. This helps the researchers and teachers to explain the variation of students in reading achievement deeply.