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The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

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  • Raj Chetty
  • John N. Friedman
  • Jonah E. Rockoff

Abstract

Are teachers’ impacts on students’ test scores (“value-added”) a good measure of their quality? This question has sparked debate largely because of disagreement about (1) whether value-added (VA) provides unbiased estimates of teachers’ impacts on student achievement and (2) whether high-VA teachers improve students’ long-term outcomes. We address these two issues by analyzing school district data from grades 3-8 for 2.5 million children linked to tax records on parent characteristics and adult outcomes. We find no evidence of bias in VA estimates using previously unobserved parent characteristics and a quasi-experimental research design based on changes in teaching staff. Students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher- ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have large impacts in all grades from 4 to 8. On average, a one standard deviation improvement in teacher VA in a single grade raises earnings by about 1% at age 28. Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase the present value of students’ lifetime income by more than $250,000 for the average class- room in our sample. We conclude that good teachers create substantial economic value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17699.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as “Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates” (with John Friedman and Jonah Rockoff), forthcoming American Economic Review
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17699

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References

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  1. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter & Yavitz, Adam, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4533, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing Social Experiments as Implemented: A Reexamination of the Evidence From the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 16238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  15. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
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  18. Matthew Ronfeldt & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2011. "How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 17176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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