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Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers

  • C. Kirabo Jackson
  • Elias Bruegmann

Using longitudinal elementary school teacher and student data, we document that students have larger test score gains when their teachers experience improvements in the observable characteristics of their colleagues. Using within-school and within-teacher variation, we show that a teacher's students have larger achievement gains in math and reading when she has more effective colleagues (based on estimated value-added from an out-of-sample pre-period). Spillovers are strongest for less experienced teachers and persist over time, and historical peer quality explains away about 20 percent of the own-teacher effect, results that suggest peer learning. (JEL I21, J24, J45)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 85-108

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:85-108
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.85
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Cory Koedel, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Teacher Spillover Effects in Secondary School," Working Papers 0808, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. 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.
  3. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2009. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 34-68, October.
  5. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2009. "Student Demographics, Teacher Sorting, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from the End of School Desegregation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 213-256, 04.
  6. Jesse Rothstein, 2007. "Do Value-Added Models Add Value? Tracking, Fixed Effects, and Causal Inference," Working Papers 1036, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  7. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 417-458.
  8. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "Surviving Andersonville: The Benefits of Social Networks in POW Camps," NBER Working Papers 11825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  10. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," NBER Working Papers 7415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Jialan Wang, 2008. "Superstar Extinction," NBER Working Papers 14577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob, 2005. "Who teaches whom? Race and the distribution of novice teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 377-392, August.
  13. 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.
  14. Harminder Battu & Clive R. Belfield & Peter J. Sloane, 2003. "Human Capital Spillovers within the Workplace: Evidence for Great Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(5), pages 575-594, December.
  15. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
  16. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
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