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Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? Longitudinal Evidence from One Urban School District

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  • Raegen T. Miller
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett

Abstract

Rates of employee absences and the effects of absences on productivity are topics of conversation in many organizations in many countries. One reason is that high rates of employee absence may signal weak management and poor labor-management relations. A second reason is that reducing rates of employee absence may be an effective way to improve productivity. This paper reports the results of a study of employee absences in education, a large, labor-intensive industry. Policymakers' concern with teacher absence rests on three premises: (1) that a significant portion of teachers' absences is discretionary, (2) that teachers' absences have a nontrivial impact on productivity, and (3) that feasible policy changes could reduce rates of absence among teachers. This paper presents the results of an empirical investigation of the first two of these premises; it discusses the third premise. We employ a methodology that accounts for time-invariant differences among teachers in skill and motivation. We find large variation in adjusted teacher absence rates among schools. We estimate that each 10 days of teacher absences reduce students' mathematics achievement by 3.3 percent of a standard deviation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13356.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Publication status: published as Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? Longitudinal Evidence from One Urban School District Raegen T. Miller, Richard J. Murnane and John B. Willett Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Vol. 30, No. 2 (Jun., 2008), pp. 181-200 Published by: American Educational Research Association
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13356

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Cited by:
  1. repec:lan:wpaper:2092 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:lan:wpaper:2340 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. C Green & M Navarro Paniagua, 2010. "Does Raising the School Leaving Age Reduce Teacher Effort? A Note from a Policy Experiment," Working Papers 609674, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  4. repec:lan:wpaper:2209 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. repec:lan:wpaper:2094 is not listed on IDEAS

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