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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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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005. "Principals as Agents: Subjective Performance Measurement in Education," NBER Working Papers 11463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  5. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  7. 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.
  8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  9. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2004. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," NBER Working Papers 10695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Bandiera, Oriana & Larcinese, Valentino & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," IZA Discussion Papers 4496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Maria De Paola, 2009. "Does Teacher Quality Affect Student Performance? Evidence From An Italian University," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 353-377, October.
  3. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144, August.
  4. 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, vol. 11(2), pages 28-45.
  5. Mai Seki, 2013. "Heterogeneous Returns to U.S. College Selectivity and the Value of Graduate Degree Attainment," Working Papers 13-46, Bank of Canada.
  6. Rezende, Marcelo, 2010. "The effects of accountability on higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 842-856, October.
  7. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2010. "Estimating the Benefit of High School for College-Bound Students," Working Papers 1002E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  8. Ortega, Daniel E., 2010. "The effect of wage compression and alternative labor market opportunities on teacher quality in Venezuela," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 760-771, October.
  9. Fabian Waldinger, 2010. "Quality matters: the expulsion of professors and Ph.D. student outcomes in Nazi Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28737, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. 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, vol. 11(2), pages 7-27.
  11. 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 79865, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  12. De Witte, Kristof & Rogge, Nicky, 2011. "Accounting for exogenous influences in performance evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 641-653, August.
  13. 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.

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