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Darla Moore School of Business

Research shows teacher crowdfunding campaigns linked to positive test scores

August 15, 2019

Two Moore School marketing professors have submitted their research to the Journal of Marketing Research about teachers’ crowdfunding campaigns and how they positively impact student test scores.

While their research is in the preliminary stages of the publishing process, assistant professors Manpreet Gill and Chen Zhou studied standardized testing data from 2004-2013 from all California public schools whose teachers successfully petitioned for classroom resources using a public education crowdfunding platform.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding needed supplies or projects through a multitude of donations, usually on a website, by private citizens, companies and organizations.

Gill and Zhou chose to focus on California for their research because of its size and the number of crowdfunding petitions, which include requests from basic school supplies and textbooks to classroom furniture and field trips. California’s standardized testing data was also consistent and comprehensive, which helped them to rule out potential alternative explanations.

Gill and Zhou found that students’ standardized test scores improved 0.7 points on average for English, but not for math, due to crowdfunded instructional resources acquired by the teachers.

While 0.7 points seems like a small improvement, Zhou emphasized that the percentage of students whose teachers successfully crowdfunded resources improved 3.22 in the category of advanced English skills on standardized tests compared to the national average. Similarly, the percentage of students whose teachers successfully crowdfunded resources decreased approximately 1 percent for the category of below basic English proficiency. 

Crowdfunding allows these teachers to move forward with their innovative ideas to keep students engaged, motivated and learning, Gill said.

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