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One size fits all? The effects of teacher cognitive and non-cognitive abilities on student achievement

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  • Grönqvist, Erik

    ()
    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Vlachos, Jonas

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)

Abstract

Teachers are increasingly being drawn from the lower parts of the general ability distribution, but it is not clear how this affects student achievement. We track the position of entering teachers in population-wide cognitive and non-cognitive ability distributions using school grades and draft records from Swedish registers. The impact on student achievement caused by the position of teachers in these ability distributions is estimated using matched student-teacher data. On average, teachers’ cognitive and non-cognitive social interactive abilities do not have a positive effect on student performance. However, social interactive ability turns out to be important for low aptitude students, whilst the reverse holds for cognitive abilities. In fact, while high performing students benefit from high cognitive teachers, being matched to such a teacher can even be detrimental to their lower performing peers. Hence, the lower abilities among teachers may hurt some students, whereas others may even benefit. High cognitive and non-cognitive abilities thus need not necessarily translate into teacher quality. Instead, these heterogeneities highlight the importance of the student-teacher matching process.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:25.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 11 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_025

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Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
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Keywords: Cognitive and non-cognitive ability; teacher quality; student achievement;

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References

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  1. Lindahl, Mikael, 2001. "Summer Learning and the Effect of Schooling: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 262, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lakdawalla, Darius, 2006. "The Economics of Teacher Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 285-329, April.
  3. Marigee P. Bacolod, 2007. "Do Alternative Opportunities Matter? The Role of Female Labor Markets in the Decline of Teacher Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 737-751, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Sean P. Corcoran & William N. Evans & Robert S. Schwab, 2002. "Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers 1957-1992," NBER Working Papers 9180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Leigh, 2004. "Pulled Away or Pushed Out? Explaining the Decline of Teacher Aptitude in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 236-240, May.
  7. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  8. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Brewer, Dominic J., 1995. "Did teachers' verbal ability and race matter in the 1960s? Coleman revisited," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-21, March.
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  11. 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).
  12. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Erik Lindqvist & Roine Vestman, 2011. "The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 101-28, January.
  14. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  15. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Consequences of The Decline in Public Sector Pay in Britain: A Little Bit of Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages F107-F118, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Andersson, Christian & Johansson, Per & Waldenström, Nina, 2011. "Do you want your child to have a certified teacher?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 65-78, February.
  2. Lena Lindahl, 2011. "A comparison of family and neighborhood effects on grades, test scores, educational attainment and income—evidence from Sweden," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 207-226, June.
  3. Lindqvist, Erik, 2010. "Height and Leadership," Working Paper Series 835, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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