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Professor Qualities and Student Achievement

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  • Florian Hoffmann
  • Philip Oreopoulos

Abstract

This paper uses a new administrative dataset of students at a large university matched to courses and instructors to analyze the importance of teacher quality at the postsecondary level. Instructors are matched to both objective and subjective characteristics of teacher quality to estimate the impact of rank, salary, and perceived effectiveness on grade, dropout and subject interest outcomes. Student fixed effects, time of day and week controls, and the fact that first year students have little information about instructors when choosing courses helps minimize selection biases. We also estimate each instructor's value added and the variance of these effects to determine the extent to which any teacher difference matters to short-term academic outcomes. The findings suggest that subjective teacher evaluations perform well in reflecting an instructor's influence on students while objective characteristics such as rank and salary do not. Whether an instructor teaches full-time or part-time, does research, has tenure, or is highly paid has no influence on a college student's grade, likelihood of dropping a course or taking more subsequent courses in the same subject. However, replacing one instructor with another ranked one standard deviation higher in perceived effectiveness increases average grades by 0.5 percentage points, decreases the likelihood of dropping a class by 1.3 percentage points and increases in the number of same-subject courses taken in second and third year by about 4 percent. The overall importance of instructor differences at the university level is smaller than that implied in earlier research at the elementary and secondary school level, but important outliers exist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12596.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Publication status: published as Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "Professor Qualities and Student Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 83-92, 08.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12596

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  1. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
  2. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2005. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  6. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005. "Principals as Agents: Subjective Performance Measurement in Education," NBER Working Papers 11463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
  8. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Thomas J. Kane & Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 12155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexei G. Orlov & John Roufagalas, 2012. "Performance Determinants in Undergraduate Economics Classes: The Effect of Cognitive Reflection," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(2), pages 28-45.
  2. Ortega, Daniel E., 2010. "The effect of wage compression and alternative labor market opportunities on teacher quality in Venezuela," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 760-771, October.
  3. Maria, De Paola, 2008. "Does Teacher Quality Affect Student Performance? Evidence from an Italian University," MPRA Paper 8841, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2009. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 14959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rezende, Marcelo, 2010. "The effects of accountability on higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 842-856, October.
  6. Bandiera, Oriana & Larcinese, Valentino & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7512, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Fabian Waldinger, 2010. "Quality matters: the expulsion of professors and Ph.D. student outcomes in Nazi Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 28737, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. De Witte, Kristof & Rogge, Nicky, 2011. "Accounting for exogenous influences in performance evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 641-653, August.
  9. Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola & Masella, Paolo, 2013. "Long-Lasting Effects of Socialist Education," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association 79865, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  10. Mai Seki, 2013. "Heterogeneous Returns to U.S. College Selectivity and the Value of Graduate Degree Attainment," Working Papers, Bank of Canada 13-46, Bank of Canada.
  11. Bruce A. Weinberg & Belton M. Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto, 2007. "Evaluating Methods for Evaluating Instruction: The Case of Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 12844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Chang Da Wan & Roland K. Cheo, 2012. "Determinants of Malaysian and Singaporean Economics Undergraduates' Academic Performance," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(2), pages 7-27.
  13. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2010. "Estimating the Benefit of High School for College-Bound Students," Working Papers, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics 1002E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.

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