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Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement

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  • Jesse Rothstein

Abstract

Growing concerns over the achievement of U.S. students have led to proposals to reward good teachers and penalize (or fire) bad ones. The leading method for assessing teacher quality is "value added" modeling (VAM), which decomposes students' test scores into components attributed to student heterogeneity and to teacher quality. Implicit in the VAM approach are strong assumptions about the nature of the educational production function and the assignment of students to classrooms. In this paper, I develop falsification tests for three widely used VAM specifications, based on the idea that future teachers cannot influence students' past achievement. In data from North Carolina, each of the VAMs' exclusion restrictions are dramatically violated. In particular, these models indicate large "effects" of 5th grade teachers on 4th grade test score gains. I also find that conventional measures of individual teachers' value added fade out very quickly and are at best weakly related to long-run effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14442.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14442

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  1. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Student sorting and bias in value added estimation: Selection on observables and unobservables," NBER Working Papers 14666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. 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.
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  8. Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," Scholarly Articles 4435671, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Konstantopoulos, Spyros, 2007. "How Long Do Teacher Effects Persist?," IZA Discussion Papers 2893, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  21. 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.
  22. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "The analysis of labor markets using matched employer-employee data," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 40, pages 2629-2710 Elsevier.
  23. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
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