Economic project-Business & Finance homework Paper

Economic project-Business & Finance homework Paper

Teaching Project Instructions

This assignment is due to Canvas before the 11:59 PM ET on November 26. The paper should be typed, 12 pt. font, double spaced, and the whole assignment in one single PDF file, including copies of all supporting material identified below. Do not ask me to accept assignments that are not combined into one file, and please do not exceed the space limit of four written pages–my grading will stop there. You will submit both the project and data file directly to Canvas.

This is to be independent work. If assignments closely resemble the work of another student (past, present, or future) then you run the risk of being submitted to the College of Liberal Arts for academic integrity. TurnItIn software will be used AFTER you submit your assignment to check for authenticity. Review the project overview page for Academic Integrity issues .


The superintendent of a Texas school district wishes to better understand how economic factors affect inequality in academic achievement across the district. You will use several websites to analyze how teacher characteristics impact student test scores.

Several web sites will be of use in finding out:

1. Texas Academic Progress Reports (Select the most recent available) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

2. Texas School District Maps (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

3. FiveThirtyEight article “Are There Too Few Teachers, Or Too Few Good Ones?” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

4. Vox article “We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

5. Individual School District Web Sites (look up on Google)

Here is what to do:

1. Select a Texas school district from the list of large school districts . All of the school districts listed have at least twenty elementary schools that include the 5th grade and have some variation in socioeconomic status across schools (they’re not all rich schools!). You should be able to see a list of elementary schools on the school district’s website. Choose your 20 schools at random. (All districts had 20 schools when they were added to the list.) Work out a process you will use to pick your schools–it should be a random process–and use it to choose your 20. Please describe this process in your write-up.

2. You can use the District Map site to look at neighboring districts around your primary district. You will not need to study every school in your district or the districts around your. Your primary analysis will be on 20 schools in your district. Be careful that you’re at the right “level” on the map. When you analyze surrounding districts, be sure that you’re not actually analyzing regions. You can call your school district and ask for their surrounding school districts.

3. You need to obtain a copy of the most recent teacher salary schedule from your district and four neighboring districts. These are generally available on the district’s web site, but occasionally you will have to call and have them email it to you. The years do not need to match so long as you have the most recent available. Some schools do not pay using a salary schedule (table of salaries). If a district pays based on min/max salary then you’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of this in your paper.

4. Read the FiveThirtyEight article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. , focusing on the main points and not getting bogged down in details. Keep in mind that your school district may not follow the discussion in the article, but you’ll mention that during your writing if that’s the case.

5. Go to the TAPR site and obtain, for each of the twenty schools (campuses) you have chosen, the percent passing the 5th grade STAAR mathematics at a (Level II) satisfactory level, the percent passing the 5th grade STAAR reading at a (Level II) satisfactory level, the percentage of students on free or reduced lunch (listed as economically disadvantaged), the percentage of teachers in the school with five years of experience or less, and the average total operating expenditures per student (by function) from the general fund. You can find the average total operating expenditures for the school by clicking the “PEIMS Financial Standard Report” at the bottom of the TAPR.

6. Each of these numbers should be for the most recent school year available. Record these numbers in a nicely organized spreadsheet.

7. Create one line-chart tracking all teacher salary schedules for each district by step-level. This will help you see how teachers get paid over a long period of time at your district and the surrounding districts. If a school district doesn’t pay in steps, make a note of that in your write-up.

7. Create nice-looking scatterplots of the percentage of economically disadvantaged students vs. math scores (% passing), economic disadvantage vs. reading scores, economic disadvantage vs. the percent of teachers with less than 5 yrs. experience, and economic disadvantage vs. average operating expenditures. Treat economic disadvantage as the independent, or X, variable, and the others as dependent, or Y, variables. Include a trend line in each.

8. Create a graph of the percentage of teachers with less than 5 yrs. experience vs. math scores, and another that replaces math scores with reading scores. Here, the percentage of inexperienced teachers is the independent variable and the test scores are the dependent variable. Again, include trend lines.

9. Write a professional report to the superintendent of your district, organized around answers to the questions below, to explain how economic factors affect inequality in academic achievement across the district. Make the report no longer than four typewritten pages maximum. In an appendix (that doesn’t count against your page limit), include a reference list in APA/MLA format as well as copies of your data, graphs, two maps showing school segregation, and a summary of the salary schedules. Submit this packet online as one single PDF. I will forward the packet to the superintendent for you.

Here are the questions to answer!

1. Competitiveness of Markets. First, compare salaries across districts. What does it mean for teaching salaries to be competitive? Are they reasonably competitive across your market area? Why? Are they more competitive for beginning teachers or experienced teachers?

2. Labor Demand. Carefully examine the teacher salary schedule for your district. Describe the patterns that it contains. Theory suggests that the amount employers are willing to pay workers reflects their productivity. If so, what does the salary schedule indicate school districts do, and do not, value in teachers? Does this make sense?

3. Labor Supply. Briefly summarize the FiveThirtyEight and then briefly summarize your graphs from above. Interpret the trend lines. Do your graphs suggest that teacher supply follow any of the patterns described in the article?

4. Segregation. Briefly summarize the Vox article and then use the tool available on the website to see how segregated your school district is. Does your school district do a better job or worse job in drawing the borders? Why should school districts be considerate of segregation? Include in the appendix two *neat* screenshots of how the elementary schools are currently zoned and how it would appear if students were assigned their nearest school.

5. Equilibrium. Your teacher salary schedule has no compensating differentials of any kind. In this labor market, what does that mean?–what would it be like, instead, to have compensating differentials? Describe how the lack of compensating differentials affects the teacher supply patterns you described above. Does the lack of compensating differentials have any other repercussions in this market?

6. Output. Finally, let’s look at performance, as measured by test scores. Based on your graphs above above, are these scores related to the percentage of inexperienced teachers? Analyze the relationship by interpreting the trend line. Do the pay policies of school districts appear to influence student achievement in the schools you studied?

One or two paragraphs should suffice to answer each set of questions (1-5). Conclude your write-up with brief concluding remarks that focus on the big picture. Everything should be combined together into a single PDF file and follow the formatting specified at the top of this assignment. Take care to make your data & graphs clear and visually pleasing: in business, presentation matters. Screenshots of data and graphs with background material will be considered unprofessional and will result in grade deductions. Be careful that the maps are neat.

As with all assignments, you are invited to come see me during office hours with questions. Please get started early, that gives you time to work through any complications you may run into.

Teacher Project FAQ

The elementary school I picked doesn’t have 5th grade, what should I do? Remove that school from your list and pick another one. Sometimes 5th graders are housed in “intermediate” schools. It just depends on the district. Make sure you have twenty different schools that all had 5th grade.

Do I need salary schedules from the year of the TAPR? No, just take the most recent salary schedules you can find for the districts.

What if the surrounding districts aren’t on the list of big school districts? All you need from the surrounding district is their salary schedule. Some of them will be small school districts and that’s fine. They are still competitors (for teachers) with the large school district you chose to analyze.


Which number do I use for the Math/Reading score? State? District? Campus? Use the campus number. You’re looking at different schools in the same district, so if you use the other numbers they will all have the same number. Make sure your numbers look different across your schools.

What do you mean about variation in economically disadvantage? While you’re collecting school information, make sure that there is some variation in the “Economically Disadvantaged” category. You don’t want all of your schools with 90%+ disadvantaged students.

Should I use “All Funds” or “General Funds” when calculating expenditures per student? Either number will tell the same story. Just be consistent across schools.

List of Large School Districts (Fall Semesters)
These are some of the largest school districts in Texas. I have already removed school districts you cannot do (like Dallas or Houston) because they are not diverse enough for your paper.

Please ensure that the districts below have at least 20 elementary schools before you begin the project. Occasionally school districts (known as ISDs in Texas) will consolidate elementary schools.

Available School Districts



Cypress Fair Banks

Fort Bend



Clear Creek

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