Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information

Contents:

Author Info

  • Douglas O. Staiger
  • Jonah E. Rockoff

Abstract

Over the past four decades, empirical researchers -- many of them economists -- have accumulated an impressive amount of evidence on teachers. In this paper, we ask what the existing evidence implies for how school leaders might recruit, evaluate, and retain teachers. We begin by summarizing the evidence on five key points, referring to existing work and to evidence we have accumulated from our research with the nation's two largest school districts: Los Angeles and New York City. First, teachers display considerable heterogeneity in their effects on student achievement gains. Second, estimates of teacher effectiveness based on student achievement data are noisy measures. Third, teachers' effectiveness rises rapidly in the first year or two of their teaching careers but then quickly levels out. Fourth, the primary cost of teacher turnover is not the direct cost of hiring and firing, but rather is the loss to students who will be taught by a novice teacher rather than one with several years of experience. Fifth, it is difficult to identify at the time of hire those teachers who will prove more effective. As a result, better teachers can only be identified after some evidence on their actual job performance has accumulated. We then explore what these facts imply for how principals and school districts should act, using a simple model in which schools must search for teachers using noisy signals of teacher effectiveness. The implications of our analysis are strikingly different from current practice. Rather than screening at the time of hire, the evidence on heterogeneity of teacher performance suggests a better strategy would be identifying large differences between teachers by observing the first few years of teaching performance and retaining only the highest-performing teachers.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.3.97
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2403_staiger_app.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 97-118

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:97-118

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.97
Contact details of provider:
Email:
Web page: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Web: http://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

Related research

Keywords:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  3. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Match Quality, Worker Productivity, and Worker Mobility: Direct Evidence From Teachers," NBER Working Papers 15990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Joshua Angrist & Susan Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag Pathak, 2009. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots," NBER Working Papers 15549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2008. "Can Principals Identify Effective Teachers? Evidence on Subjective Performance Evaluation in Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 101-136.
  7. Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
  9. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
  10. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
  11. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  12. Koedel, Cory, 2009. "An empirical analysis of teacher spillover effects in secondary school," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 682-692, December.
  13. John H. Tyler & Eric S. Taylor & Thomas J. Kane & Amy L. Wooten, 2010. "Using Student Performance Data to Identify Effective Classroom Practices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 256-60, May.
  14. Caroline M. Hoxby & Sonali Murarka, 2009. "Charter Schools in New York City: Who Enrolls and How They Affect Their Students' Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hanushek, Eric, 1971. "Teacher Characteristics and Gains in Student Achievement: Estimation Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 280-88, May.
  16. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ballou, Dale, 1996. "Do Public Schools Hire the Best Applicants?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 97-133, February.
  18. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Santiago Levy & Norbert Schady, 2013. "Latin America's Social Policy Challenge: Education, Social Insurance, Redistribution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 193-218, Spring.
  2. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2012. "School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools," NBER Working Papers 17939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hanushek, Eric A., 2011. "The economic value of higher teacher quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 466-479, June.
  4. Cory Koedel & Mark Ehlert & Michael Podgursky & Eric Parsons, 2012. "Teacher Preparation Programs and Teacher Quality: Are There Real Differences Across Programs?," Working Papers 1204, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 13 Jul 2012.
  5. Marc van der Steeg & Sander Gerritsen, 2013. "Teacher evaluations and pupil achievement: Evidence from classroom observations," CPB Discussion Paper 230, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  6. Koedel Cory & Leatherman Rebecca & Parsons Eric, 2012. "Test Measurement Error and Inference from Value-Added Models," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-37, November.
  7. Rothstein, Jesse, 2012. "Teacher Quality Policy When Supply Matters," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt81q0f4bc, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  8. Cory Koedel & Jiaxi Li, 2014. "The Efficiency Implications of Using Proportional Evaluations to Shape the Teaching Workforce," Working Papers 1402, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  9. Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger & Thomas J. Kane & Eric S. Taylor, 2012. "Information and Employee Evaluation: Evidence from a Randomized Intervention in Public Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3184-3213, December.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:97-118. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.